Originally Published: Nov 22, 2009 4:47 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Sports Director Dean Blevins has learned that OU's starting middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds will not play against Oklahoma State next Saturday after sustaining a hamstring injury in the loss yesterday at Texas Tech.
The loss of Reynolds is considered especially significant because he is the leader of the defense, calls out assignments, and specializes in stopping the run. Oklahoma State leads the conference in rushing. Austin Box occasionally replaces Reynolds, mostly in passing situations and will draw the starting assignment in the Bedlam game in Norman.
Reynolds becomes the third senior captain to be lost due to injury, joining Heisman-winning QB Sam Bradford and All-Big 12 fullback-turned offensive lineman Brody Eldridge.
Reynolds has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. The fifth-year standout from Las Vegas has undergone three knee surgeries and has applied to the NCAA for an extra year of eligibility.
Box is the backup strongside linebacker and was not expected to play in the middle this season. But in the preseason, OU lost Mike Balogun for the season after he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA and freshman Tom Wort tore up a knee. Box would have been only an emergency role MLB but with the top three players out, he moves to the middle.
Starting center Ben Habern sustained a broken fibula yesterday and is also out for the season. This is the second straight week Oklahoma lost two starters to injury.