Now, I wouldn't put it past Chizik to soft-peddle things until there's some sort of 100-percent confirmed "he's not coming back" diagnosis--clearly, out of all the topics he hates to discuss with the press, injuries are the on he hates most of all--but certainly that's much more encouraging than the "news" we were hearing yesterday. Savage coming back (or barely being injured) won't do much for my credibility after the post below, but of course I'll gladly sacrifice that if it means Savage won't have to skip the bulk of the 2009 season.
UPDATE THE SECOND: AuburnUndercover reports that the injury is indeed to Savage's Achilles, but that it may not be a tear. Fingers crossed.
Way to harsh my summer mellow, Track 'Em:
Aairon Savage is out for the season, and maybe his career with a torn Achilles Tendon.Auburn by Beaver posted something similar last night and just wrote the injury "has been confirmed." There's no link provided at either site, but I'm guessing there's something semi-official behind a paywall somewhere. In any case, both bloggers posting the same thing at almost the exact same time seems like waaaaaaaaay too much of a coincidence for thing not to have legs. And hey, as I type this, here comes Evan Woodbery with an official-official confirmation of "an injury," but no specifics.
Still, I think it's relatively safe to assume Savage is, unfortunately, done for the year. This has to be a terrible, terrible blow for Savage himself, who looked like a future first-day draft pick and the cornerstone of the AU secondary two seasons ago, and now faces an uphill battle to ever play again (assuming the torn Achilles report is accurate). Just an awful, awful bit of luck.
As for Auburn ... well, there are worse places on the team for this type of injury to strike. Walt McFadden and Neiko Thorpe had already become a solid pair of corners by the time last season ended, and between Taikwon Paige, T'Sharvan Bell, D'Antoine Hood, and maybe even Demond Washington, Auburn should be able to cobble together some measure of depth. Safety looks pretty similar--Etheridge and McNeil (assuming they're healthy) are entrenched as the starters, and Mike Slade and Christian Thompson showed in the spring that they might be ready for some extended burn.
However: the secondary as described above is good. A secondary where Aairon Savage is a third corner (or where he's bumped Thorpe to the third corner) and stands ready to move to safety is necessary has a chance to be great. This is a team that earned its 5-7 bona fides last year and can't really afford to lose All-SEC-caliber players at any position, regardless of the potential depth behind them. It's a tough, tough bit of news to swallow.