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September 20, 2011TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne is expected to have an MRI to evaluate the severity of a knee injury he suffered early Sunday morning in the first quarter of the Golden Hurricane's loss to Oklahoma State.
University of Tulsa officials did not definitively say the three-year starter would miss Saturday's game at No. 4 Boise State.
But his injury doesn't bode well for the Golden Hurricane, who are 1-2 after the 59-33 loss to the No. 7 Cowboys, and face their third top-10 opponent of the season.
"What I can tell you is I have been told his mother (Jocelyne) posted on her Facebook account (his status)," coach Bill Blankenship said. "My trainer and our doctor have not told us a definitive diagnosis. They believe he had an MCL injury.
"I can tell you our trainer felt much more positive about it Sunday afternoon than he did (Sunday morning). I can assure you that G.J. has said to me, we're not saving him for anything. It's his senior year. If he can play this week, he'll play this week. It is my understanding he will have an MRI done to confirm what we expect the diagnosis to be."
With 46 rushing yards in the season opener at Oklahoma, Kinne became the only quarterback in school history to throw for more than 6,000 yards and rush for more than 1,000. Officially, Kinne has thrown for 6,907 yards, good for third all-time at Tulsa. He's rushed for 1,044, which ranks third among Tulsa quarterbacks behind Steve Gage (1983-86) who rushed for 2,096 and James Kilian's 1,083 rushing yards from 2001-04.
Blankenship said the late-night game was close to being canceled if the team's did not take the field by midnight. But the first-year coach said he was not looking at the wet field conditions and late start as an indicator to Kinne's injury.
"Cancel the game and you presume G.J. doesn't get hurt," Blankenship said. "In my own life, if you get caught looking backwards you are going to spend a whole lot of time second-guessing everything you do. It is football. I really regret it for him and for us. Again I don't know how you second-guess that. We were scheduled to play the game and we played the game."
Redshirt freshman Kalen Henderson struggled when he initially took over the offense, fumbling a couple of snaps. The 6-foot, 202-pound quarterback was 6-of-20 passing for 102 yards and two touchdowns. But he threw three interceptions.
"He was justifiably nervous and a little shaky to say the least in his debut," Blankenship said. "This is his first significant experience in college football. I was very proud that he settled down and began to manage the offense better. He led our team to 27 points against a Top 10 defense. We have something to build on. He's in a crash-course (mode) now to get better and more prepared for Boise State."
A decision on Henderson's backup will be made this week. Joseph Calcagni and Stephen Rouse, both true freshmen, are competing for the backup position.
"We've been trying to redshirt Joseph Calcagni," Blankenship said. "To this point, Stephen Rouse has been the third-team quarterback."
As the backup, Henderson has worked with some of the players who are starters now, namely wide receiver Bryan Burnham, who leads the Golden Hurricane in catches (13) and receiving yards (230).
"I hope it will help," Blankenship said of Henderson's chemistry with Burnham. "There's no shortcut to taking snaps out there when there's live bullets firing. He has plenty of ability, he's plenty smart and there's just no shortcut for experience. What he got the other night is invaluable in him becoming the kind of quarterback he wants to be and what we need him to be."