Henry Anderson should be back in time for Oregon
The Bootleg has big Stanford updates on the injury front ahead of the Cardinal's game against Arizona State. While Tyler Gaffney missed practice with a headache, he's expected back Saturday. Other Cardinal players, however, aren't as fortunate.
The Anderson Prognosis
David Shaw said that he expected Henry Anderson to miss four to six
weeks as he recovers from an undisclosed knee injury sustained
during the second quarter of the Cardinal's win at Army, though he
admitted that a six-week recovery outlook was more probable.
Depending on one's perspective, today's update on the six-foot-six,
295-pound defensive end's health can either be construed as a
significant blow or big break for Stanford. From the negative
perspective, Anderson will likely miss games against Arizona State,
Washington State, Washington, UCLA, Utah, and Oregon State. But
while all of those contests present legitimate threats to Stanford,
it's safe to say that the Cardinal has enough defensive firepower to
defeat any of those teams without Anderson.
Based on No. 91's monstrous performance at Autzen Stadium last year,
it's unlikely Stanford has enough firepower to take down Oregon
without him. That's where the positive perspective comes in: The
six-week timetable suggests that Anderson will return by late
October, just in time for the Ducks' November 7 visit to Stanford
Of course, no timetable is a guarantee at this point. Shaw says that
he'll have a more accurate idea of Anderson's estimated return
within a week or two, after the rehabilitation process is firmly
underway. Josh Mauro will take his place, while Aziz Shittu is the
next in line up front. For now, the Cardinal's rotation on the
defensive line will extend at least four players deep. Shaw hopes
that number can grow to five and six players as the season
progresses, and Anderson's anticipated return about six weeks from
now will boost the number by one.
Defensive line coach Randy Hart helped illustrate the difference the
Cardinal will see up front during Anderson's absence. Mauro is known
by defensive coordinator Derek Mason as a "bull in a china shop."
"Henry is a ready, aim, fire guy," Hart
smiled. "Josh is more of a ready, fire, aim guy."
Hewitt to Provide a Boost
Stanford fullback Ryan Hewitt, who had been ailing because of a
deep knee bruise suffered back during the Cardinal's open practice
August 24, returned to full participation during Thursday's
practice. Shaw expects him to play Saturday against ASU after
missing Stanford's game against Army. The Farm Boys can certainly
use Hewitt's boost: His presence in the short passing game can help an offense that saw zero catches from its tight ends
for only the second time in the Jim Harbaugh-David Shaw era against
"He's won't go from not playing to being in for 60 snaps, though,"
Lee Ward and Pat Skov will rotate with Hewitt to keep him fresh. The former has seen significant playing time over the course of the past
two weeks in relief of No. 85.
One admirable side note: Ward's father drove 16 hours from St.
Louis to West Point to see his son play last Saturday.
Blake Martinez, who was hurt in practice last week, is expected
to miss about three more weeks because of an undisclosed injury.
Shaw said that the linebacker's early rehabilitation efforts have
been coming along well. Senior Joe Hemschoot has taken Martinez's
spot behind Shayne Skov on Stanford's depth chart, and he's pleased
the staff with his performance so far.
"Joe's a contact player," Shaw said. "He's not the biggest guy, but
some of our guys think he packs the biggest punch. He's a hitter,
and he's had a great week of practice."
With Barry Browning definitely ruled out after injuring
"multiple body parts" during an "extremely awkward" fall at West
Point, Stanford may be pushed to break in a new fourth cornerback
against Arizona State's uptempo attack on Saturday. Alex Carter,
Wayne Lyons, and Devon Carrington are the Cardinal's top three
bodies at the position, but the Farm Boys have typically used a
four-man rotation against fast-paced offenses. Arizona State ran 93
plays against Wisconsin last week.
The Bootleg predicted Usua Amanam and Ra'Chard Pippens would be the
two most likely candidates to fill Browning's void, and Shaw
confirmed that speculation this week. Amanam is Stanford's starting
nickel back, so the staff is very comfortable with his knowledge of
the playbook. Pippens, meanwhile, brings tantalizing six-foot-two
physicality to the position. He impressed during the offseason.
"Ra'Chard Pippens had his best week of practice as a Stanford
Cardinal last week," Shaw said.
David Lombardi is the Stanford
Insider for The Bootleg. Check him out at www.davidlombardisports.com
and follow him on Twitter @DavidMLombardi.
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