Kiwanuka, nursing knee injury, will not play

Updated: October 14, 2005, 10:40 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- Boston College lineman Mathias Kiwanuka has been ruled out of Saturday's game against Wake Forest because of a right knee injury that may have happened when he was hit after the whistle against Virginia.

Kiwanuka said Wednesday he has a sprained or slightly torn medial collateral ligament in his right leg. He already had a sore ankle. No. 14 Boston College (5-1, 2-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) has a bye week after Saturday's game, then plays on Thursday, Oct. 27, against third-ranked Virginia Tech.

Doctors ruled out Kiwanuka on Friday.

"I'm confident that I'll be back by Virginia Tech," Kiwanuka, projected to be a possible first-round NFL draft pick, said earlier this week. "I'm definitely going to push to be on the field. But there's no fighting with the head man. ... He obviously has the last say. I trust his judgment."

Coach Tom O'Brien said Jake Ottolini will take Kiwanuka's place.

"Whenever [Kiwanuka] feels good, he's going to play," O'Brien said.

The Cavaliers suspended offensive lineman Brad Butler for one game this week for the chop-block that caught Kiwanuka in the back of the leg several seconds after the whistle in BC's 28-17 victory last week. Butler issued a statement saying he was not trying to hurt Kiwanuka.

"I was engaged in blocking him because he is the type of player who makes plays all over the field," the Virginia offensive lineman said. "I regret this event occurred and have put the incident behind me."

Kiwanuka had an MRI on Tuesday, and when they determined that the injury was likely a sprain he was cleared to begin rehab. He did not know if the injury was from the chop-block, but he said, "After the hit, it hurt a little more."

"I was shocked at how blatant it was," Kiwanuka said. "I had done nothing to him. ... I don't buy that he got overexcited."

Kiwanuka had heard that Butler tried to get in touch with him to apologize, but the two have not spoken. The BC star, who was the Big East defensive player of the year last year, said the one-game suspension did not satisfy him.

"There's nothing that could have satisfied me," he said. "Any apology would just be for media purposes. I will listen to the apology, but I'm not going to go out of my way to get in touch with him."

Eagles offensive lineman Jeremy Trueblood was also upset that Butler could miss the same amount of time as Kiwanuka.

"It's not fair at all," he said. "If you're not going to play by the rules, I don't think you should play."

The game was tied 7-all early in the third quarter when Butler chop-blocked Kiwanuka. BC lineman Al Washington retaliated and was ejected; BC linebacker Brian Toal hit Butler one play later and drew a personal foul.

Kiwanuka was ejected in the fourth quarter for trying to exact his revenge.

Toal's penalty put the Cavaliers on the BC 23 and Deyon Williams caught a 23-yard touchdown pass on the next play to make it 14-7. But the Eagles scored touchdowns on three of their next four possessions to take a 28-17 lead.

"On the sidelines, we were all going crazy. But we were trying to keep our composure at the same time," linebacker Ray Henderson said. "We're a family. It's just like if someone went after your little brother or little sister."

Also Wednesday, BC placekicker Ryan Ohliger was pulled off of the field goal squad after missing three tries against Virginia. O'Brien told walk-on Will Troost that he will do the placekicking; Ohliger, who was 6-for-11 on field goals and just 3-for-8 from 30 yards or longer, will continue to kick off.

"He was pretty positive about it," Troost said. "He obviously wants to play. He's just trying to get back to where he was."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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