Oklahoma's Bob Stoops announced Tuesday afternoon that freshman defensive end D.J. Ward had undergone a procedure to have his spleen removed earlier that morning and that the recovery time would be 'about six weeks.'
It's a tough break for Ward who has not played in an actual football game for nearly two years after he was forced to sit out his senior season after his attempts to transfer caused him to be ruled ineligible in a somewhat controversial decision by the OSSAA.
While certainly disappointing for a player that was expected to contribute this coming season, obviously Ward's long-term health is the most important factor in any decision. A decision that could include taking, assuming he would qualify and with the NCAA you never know, a medical redshirt for this 2013 season.
However after initial (and premature) speculation on Monday that Ward's career may be over, the silver lining here is obviously that after he is able to recover Ward should be able to resume his football career.
Ward had the procedure Tuesday morning according to Stoops and if he were in fact to miss the full six weeks, that would put him back the week of the Notre Dame game. Now it's probably fair to assume after sitting out for that long that he wouldn't be ready to just jump right back in and be ready to play. Which would mean he'd miss at least the first four games of the season and possibly even more.
It certainly seems as if a medical redshirt is the most logical decision, both for Ward and OU's sake, but Stoops said that decision would be made after the start of the season.
With Ward now out and Michael Onuoha also expected to miss up to the first three games of the season, the pressure is very much on an Oklahoma defensive line that already entered the season with a number of question marks. All three of OU's freshman defensive ends were likely to play this season, but with these early injuries you can all but guarantee that Matt Dimon and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo will see the field in 2013.