Defense slowed by two key injuries

A constant concern of all football teams is injuries, and the Ball State Cardinals have had to deal with some as they get ready for their season opener Sept. 7 at Missouri.

Senior Charles Avant, projected to start at safety, has not practiced the last two weeks due to a broken jaw. He may return in time for the opening game.

Senior Jade Winchell, slated as Avant's backup, is out this year for medical reasons. Redshirt freshman Donta Smith, a backup at inside linebacker, tore both the medial collateral ligament (MCL) and anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his knee and may also miss the season.

"The plan is to let the MCL heal," head coach Bill Lynch said. "Then he'll have surgery on the ACL in September. Mark Zachery tore his ACL last year and played, but he was a fifth-year senior."

Lynch added that the team overall has been rather healthy and he said he isn't worried about any lack of preparation time.

"A lot of injuries have been from the spring and summer, not from practice," he said. "They slowed us in some spots, but also it gave some young guys an opportunity to go. So the competition was good. This week we've got a lot of those guys back, so that's helped us.

"Charles hasn't practiced since we put pads on, so the defense has had a chance to work with other safeties. I think between now and the first game, barring further injury, the defense will have plenty of time to work together. (Today) we'll have our last scrimmage, so that will give us two additional days on preparing for Missouri."