Peterson likely out for season with broken collarbone

Updated: October 16, 2006, 10:58 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

NORMAN, Okla. -- Last month, Adrian Peterson told The Oklahoman the one thing that could keep him from leaving for the NFL after this season was a major injury. But the Sooner star probably never expected that possibility to come into play.

Coach expects Peterson
to enter draft
Oklahoma offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson told ESPN on Saturday evening that he expects Adrian Peterson will be among the top four picks in the next NFL draft.

"I have always thought that this was Adrian's last year," Wilson said. "And why wouldn't it be? He stands to make a boatload of money. He has done everything we've ever asked of him here."

Wilson said Oklahoma "will not put Adrian's health in jeopardy" by playing him in a bowl game before he is ready.

"What we will miss most about Adrian is his committment, intensity and work ethic in practice," Wilson said. "Hopefully what he has shown the younger guys has rubbed off."

Wilson said he does not expect to change Oklahoma's offense schematically.

"We're disappointed about the injury but the sky has not fallen," Wilson said. "We have capable backs. And our quarterback and wide receivers have made good progress."

Peterson said last month he wanted to win a Heisman and a national championship before leaving Oklahoma and that a "major" injury is the only thing that could bring him back to Norman.

"This is not what I would consider a 'major' injury," Wilson said of a broken collarbone. "His NFL career will in no way be affected by this. He's going to be a very high draft choice. I mean, don't you think?"

-- Joe Schad

Peterson, a Heisman Trophy hopeful and the fourth-leading rusher in Oklahoma history, broke his collarbone on a dive into the end zone Saturday, and will miss the rest of the regular season.

Peterson was injured on his last carry of the game -- a 53-yard scoring run with about 6:40 remaining that completed the 23rd-ranked Sooners' 34-9 win over Iowa State.

Peterson ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns.

"My goals when I got here were to win a national championship first and then have an opportunity to win the Heisman," Peterson told The Oklahoman in September. "Those are the things I want to do, but the only thing right now I know for a fact that would keep me [at Oklahoma] next year is a major injury. God willing, that won't happen."

How Saturday's injury will affect Peterson's draft status for April's NFL Draft is not yet known. Peterson has been projected as a Top 5 pick.

Peterson, a junior who has 1,030 yards this season and entered the weekend as the nation's fourth-leading rusher, was second in Heisman voting as a freshman. He was playing for the first time in years before his father, who had spent about eight years in federal prison for money laundering.

"Just diving into the end zone and when he landed, he landed wrong," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "At this point it looks like the best thing, the earliest he would be ready to play, would be a bowl game."

Sooner quarterback Paul Thompson said the team will have to find a way to keep going.

"A.D. is the focal point not only of this offense but the team," Thompson said. "It's big, so a lot of guys are going to have to step up. Not just other running backs. This team as a whole is going to have to step up and pull an extra load.

"He was obviously a great back, one of the best backs in the nation."

Peterson set an NCAA freshman record with 1,925 rushing yards in 2004 as he helped lead Oklahoma to the BCS title game, where the Sooners lost to Southern California. He had rushed for at least 100 yards in 22 of his 30 games at Oklahoma, including nine straight to start his career.

His performance Saturday moved him into fourth place on Oklahoma's all-time rushing list. He would need only 150 to match 1978 Heisman Trophy winner Billy Sims' total of 4,118 yards.

"I'm still not even trying to think about an offense without him, but I guess it is reality," receiver Malcolm Kelly said. "We're going to have to come out and play, man. Everybody came here to play football, and that's what we're going to have to do. We're going to have to do it to a higher level than we've been doing."

Despite all that success, Peterson had been fairly injury-prone in his Oklahoma career. He dislocated his left shoulder in fall practice in 2004, reaggravated it during the regular season and then had surgery in the offseason.

He missed one game last season and was severely limited in three others with a sprained right ankle.

Peterson's backup, junior Allen Patrick, another I-back style runner, will take over the primary ball-carrying duties with Peterson out, ESPN.com's Ivan Maisel reports. On the season, Patrick has 18 carries for 62 yards, with a long gain of 15. Jacob Gutierrez, a Quentin Griffin-style back who helped fill in for Peterson after his injury last season, will likely also see some time.

"We won't make any rash decisions," offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson said. "I don't think the offense is going to change dramatically."

ESPN's Joe Schad and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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