Some sobering news broke earlier today and was confirmed after BYU football practice by coach Bronco Mendenhall and trainer Kevin Morris.
Sophomore tight end Devin Mahina has a small fracture in his neck, and is out for the season.
Mahina has been competing for a starting spot with Austin Holt all preseason. However, he suffered the fracture 10 days ago, Mendenhall said, and has been practicing for two weeks with the break in his neck.
Doctors performed x-rays Monday and a CAT scan on Tuesday and discovered the break.
Morris said it has yet to be determined yet whether Mahina will require surgery. He said it is also too early to speculate on whether the injury will curtail the career of the Upland, Calif., native.
Mahina caught 11 passes last year for 118 yards, with a long of 22.
"Imagine having a fracture in your neck and hitting guys for two weeks," marveled BYU offensive coordinator Brandon Doman.
In other injury news not nearly as serious, Morris said that kicker Justin Sorensen still hasn't returned to practice fully after suffering a lower back strain last week. He said he cleared Sorensen to kick today, but coaches decided to let him rest it one more day.
Sorensen suffered the strain, Morris said, while putting on his shoes.
Freshman offensive lineman Ryker Mathews was in a walking boot during practice, suffering from a case of turf toe. Morris said he should be good to go for Ole Miss and will make the trip.
Fullback Zed Mendenhall continues to be hampered by a sprained left ankle. Morris said the senior is day to day and will be a gametime decision on Saturday.
Mendenhall had good and bad news regarding the handful of players who were academically ineligible for fall camp but hoped to join the team the first day of classes (which was Monday).
* Thomas Bryson, the defensive end from Layton High, didn't quite make it and will not join the team until January.
* DE Matt Putnam was readmitted into school and will rejoin the team if and when he gets NCAA clearance. Mendenhall didn't detail what he needs to get cleared by the NCAA.
* Safety Kori Gaines is back in school, and will be considered a walk-on this fall. He will be a part of the scout team.
* O'Neill Chambers apparently didn't impress enough in his try out and won't be rejoining the team until January (as was the original plan laid out by Mendenhall the middle of last season.
One final tidbit from practice: I asked Mendenhall if he senses that new offensive coordinator Brandon Doman is feeling any pressure a few days before his debut as the OC at Ole Miss. Mendenhall said that every time he passes Doman in the football offices, he says, "no pressure." Later, Doman confirmed the head coach's story.
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