Just as his big opportunity came - both this season and next, when he'll be the front-runner to be a starter - Joey Elliott appears headed for surgery to repair the shoulder injury he sustained at Northwestern Saturday.
Coach Joe Tiller said Sunday that it's "most likely" that the junior, who replaced starter Curtis Painter in the second quarter in Evanston, will go under the knife to repair a shoulder separation. That would end Elliott's season and require months to recover.
"Talking to him this morning," Tiller said, "it seems pretty certain they're going to have to surgically repair it, I would guess. I'd be shocked if they didn't."
More should be known Monday, Tiller said.
Elliott has replaced Painter twice this season, first against Penn State. Had he not gotten injured at Northwestern, there's no telling what his status - whether it be as a starter or a backup - would have been this week.
As significantly, the injury denies Elliott more playing experience and potentially a chunk of his off-season, as he prepares to compete for the starting job next season, after Painter graduates. Elliott's been Purdue's No. 2 QB since his redshirt freshman season in 2006.
"It would have been great if he could have played this year," Tiller said.
With Elliott lost, redshirt freshman Justin Siller has moved back to quarterback, his original position. Siller moved to running back after Jaycen Taylor injured his knee in the preseason.
Elliott's loss is another entry to a list of significant injuries that have struck the Boilermakers this season, starting with Taylor, then to linebacker Jason Werner and tight end Kyle Adams.
Werner hasn't played yet this season, but Tiller remains hopeful; Adams hasn't played since the first quarter of the first quarter, but could conceivably be back for Minnesota.
In addition to Siller's move, redshirting freshman Caleb Ter Bush will begin seeing more substantive work in practice.
"Ter Bush is a good prospect," Tiller said. "We just felt we weren't going to play him this year, so we backed off his reps, but we liked what he did during camp. Our thoughts are not to get him ready to play play, but to have him ready if we've got to go to a third quarterback, which hopefully we won't have to do."
Change in captains
After serving a one-game suspension at Ohio State for undisclosed reasons, senior wide receiver Joe Whitest has been stripped of his status as a team captain, Tiller said Sunday, when asked if a change had been made.
Defensive end Ryan Kerrigan went to midfield for the coin toss at Northwestern, alongside remaining captains Painter, Ryan Baker and Jermaine Guynn.
Tiller said the fourth captain post will be filled on a week-to-week basis, as has been done in the past.
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