JONESBORO -- Arkansas State University sophomore wide receiver Brandon Bowling is expected to miss the remainder of the 2018 season after suffering a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee in this week's 35-9 loss to Appalachian State.
Bowling, who will undergo surgery Tuesday, will require 6-8 weeks to recover, meaning the earliest he could return is December.
It is unlikely Bowling could return for the Sun Belt Championship Game on Dec. 1 should ASU qualify. A return before a possible bowl game appearance in late December was not ruled out.
"He might be ready at the very end," said ASU Coach Blake Anderson, "but more than likely it's probably the season for him."
Bowling's 15 receptions are tied for the third-most among ASU's receivers. Bowling, who has not started a game this season, did not catch a touchdown in six games but was one of seven players with 100-plus receiving yards.
The injury blow is ASU's second season-ending injury to a wide receiver and further depletes what was largely considered one of ASU's strongest and deepest position groups entering 2018. Junior transfer Dahu Green's season ended in the second quarter of the Red Wolves' season-opening victory against Southeast Missouri State because of a broken left ankle.
Senior wide receiver Kendrick Edwards, who is dealing with a troubling ankle injury , did not play Tuesday against Appalachian State. Edwards was held out of Friday's practice and his status for Thursday's home game against Georgia State is to be determined.
"He's not ready now," Anderson said. "He's got to make a lot of progress. It's slow. He twisted it pretty good and it's just not coming along fast enough."
The Red Wolves have moved freshman cornerback Nathan Page from defense to offense to help their receiver unit. Page caught more than 100 passes at Joe T. Robinson for 2,208 total yards and 28 touchdowns and was Arkansas' No. 7 overall prospect, according to 247Sports.com.
The Red Wolves need healthy receivers.
"There's no such thing as depth," Anderson said. "We're just going to use some sub-personnel packages to try to make it work ... So, we'll make do. At the end of the day, we'll put an O-lineman out there if we have to."
ASU defensive backs Brandon Byner and Jerry Jacobs, who both went down with injuries Tuesday, are expected to "be fine," Anderson said.
ASU defensive backs Byner, Jacobs, B.J. Edmonds (foot) and Darreon Jackson (both shoulders) have all dealt with injuries at some point this season.
Edmonds returned to ASU's starting secondary Tuesday for the first time since he was sidelined at Tulsa on Sept. 15 with a sprained foot. Jackson, who's dealt with injuries to both shoulders for a month, is ASU's leading tackler with 46 (23 assisted, 23 unassisted) in six games.
"He's hurt but he's playing through it," Anderson said. "He's been playing that way for four weeks.
"We're thinner than we've ever been. We've got to figure out a way to manage it."
Sports on 10/13/2018
Print Headline: ASU WR depth thinner after Bowling's MCL tear