Holtz: WR Griffin out at least "a couple weeks"
USF receiver Sterling Griffin, who has emerged as the Bulls' top receiver this season, sprained his ankle in Saturday's loss to Cincinnati and is out at least "a couple of weeks," with trainers waiting for a result of an MRI exam Monday to know the full extent of the injury.
"He definitely has an ankle sprain. One of their concerns is about maybe a break in the bone. He went to that X-ray this morning," coach Skip Holtz said during the Big East's weekly coaches teleconference. "I would say in a best-case scenario, he would be out a couple weeks, and the worst-case scenario, that there would be a break and he would probably be out the rest of the year. But with his ankle right now, he's very doubtful for the upcoming game."
Griffin injured the same ankle in summer 2010, dislocating the ankle and fracturing the bottom of his fibula. He missed the entire 2010 season recovering from that injury, but has returned healthy and developed into the top target for quarterback B.J. Daniels. Griffin leads the team and ranks among the Big East leaders with 40 catches for 493 yards, putting him on pace to challenge USF's single-season records for both.
Holtz said the potential loss of Griffin is offset somewhat by encouraging progress Saturday from two young receivers -- redshirt freshman Deonte Welch had five catches for 130 yards, while true freshman Andre Davis had four for 60 yards, including the go-ahead touchdown in the final two minutes before Cincinnati rallied for the win.
"It's going to be hard -- to lose a sophomore like that would be a blow, because he's really been playing well," Holtz said. "It's kind of forced guys like Andre Davis, Deonte Welch, Ruben Gonzalez to grow up, forced them to mature and grow up. ... To see the way a couple of the young guys are stepping up is really exciting. I would absolutely hate it for Sterling for everything he's been through. He's come back so strong and he's such a great young man. He's worked so hard to be here and has made such a huge impact on this team this season, it would be difficult to lose him. It definitely looks like that's going to be the case, at least for a couple weeks. Somebody's going to have to step up."
USF has this week off and then the Bulls finish the regular season with five games in five weeks, needing two wins out of those five to extend the team's streak of bowl appearances to seven years.