Whitehurst has surgery in hopes of playing in bowl

Updated: December 2, 2005, 3:12 PM ET
Associated Press

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Clemson quarterback Charlie Whitehurst had arthroscopic shoulder surgery in the hope of playing in a Tigers bowl game, he said Friday.

Whitehurst, who's been bothered by shoulder pain since September, had the procedure on Thursday.

"The surgery was minor and I should be ready for the beginning of bowl practice," Whitehurst said in a statement.

Last week, Whitehurst said he consulted an orthopedic surgeon and determined there was no severe damage and surgery could wait. But Whitehurst and his father, former Green Bay quarterback David Whitehurst, decided not to put off the surgery.

"We talked as a family about the situation over the holiday and we decided this was the best time to have the surgery," Whitehurst said. "I look forward to playing my final game for Clemson, then will play in the Senior Bowl."

Clemson team orthopedic surgeon Dr. Larry Bowman performed outpatient surgery.

"Now he can play in the bowl game," Clemson coach Tommy Bowden said. "He can prepare for the bowl game without hurting, no pain, so this was a real positive sign for him and for us. He'll start throwing before we start practice."

Practice for the still undetermined bowl game was tentatively set for Dec. 17. The Tigers (7-4) are ranked No. 22.

The senior had some shoulder pain before Clemson's overtime loss to Boston College on Sept. 24, and Bowden said it appeared to affect his throwing in a 10-9 loss to Georgia Tech on Oct. 29.

Whitehurst sat out the Duke game Nov. 5, ending his streak of 37 consecutive starts, but returned the following week to lead the Tigers over Florida State.

A week later at South Carolina, he rebounded from two first-half interceptions to lead the Tigers to a 13-9 win. Whitehurst completed three straight passes after a first-and-35 hole in the third quarter, starting a drive that led to the game-winning score.

The victory marked his fourth in four starts against South Carolina, making him the first quarterback in the 103-game rivalry to have a 4-0 record.

Whitehurst holds 40 Clemson records, including yards passing, completions and touchdown passes.

Bowden said the surgery shouldn't impact Whitehurst's NFL draft position.

"I would say he's done enough in the past four years," Bowden said. "But there's no doubt that playing in a bowl game versus a quality opponent is one more notch in your belt."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press