BOZICH | Louisville needs receiving committee to replace DeVante Parker
He will be operated on Monday in Charlotte, N.C. by Dr. Robert Anderson, a nationally recognized orthopedic specialist. Petrino said Parker used Anderson because he is a doctor who will be working at the NFL Draft combine next winter.
U of L football coach Bobby Petrino confirmed the injury on Monday, three days after Parker, a senior, was injured during a Cards' practice at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium. Parker jumped to catch a pass and was tackled after he came down. Coaches knew immediately that he was injured.
James Quick, Eli Rogers and Kai De La Cruz are listed as Louisville's first-team receivers, backed by Matt Milton and Michaelee Harris.
"Guys have to step up and perform," Petrino said. "We're fortunate in our situation that we have a lot of experienced players."
Will the absence of Parker restrict the Cardinals' game plan?
"It restricts you a little bit," Petrino said. Certainly, he's a very, very talented guy. It will change things around a little bit. I don't know if restrictions is the right word. Certainly when you miss a guy like that it's going to be a little bit different.
"Like I said, you're not going to be able to have one guy step in and say, 'OK, you're now DeVante.' We've got to be able to use the weapons that we have and the things they do well. Mix the ball around and get them into a position where they can excel and make plays."
If Parker returns after six games, he might be able to play against either Syracuse (Oct. 3) or Clemson (Oct. 11). If the healing process requires more time, the hope is that Parker could play against North Carolina State (Oct. 18) or – worst case – Florida State Oct. 30.
"We have guys who are capable of stepping up in his place," defensive end Lorenzo Mauldin said.
Parker led Louisville in receiving yards last season, making 55 catches for 885 yards and a dozen touchdowns.
He has scored 28 touchdowns in three seasons, and he considered entering the NFL Draft after his junior year but decided to return to play for new Petrino.
Parker had nine catches for 142 yards and a touchdown when the Cards defeated Miami, 36-9, in the Russell Athletic Bowl last December. Parker scored touchdowns in four of Louisville's last five games. Not only is Parker Louisville's largest receiver, he is the biggest target for new quarterback Will Gardner.
Many project him as a first-round draft pick in 2015 because of his size, agility, leaping ability and hands. ESPN NFL draft expert Mel Kiper has rated Parker as the third-best senior receiver in college football this season.
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