One day after snapping the seven-game losing streak to the Florida State Seminoles, the No. 11 Miami Hurricanes suffered some heartbreaking news.
Head coach Mark Richt announced on his weekly teleconference Oct. 8 that All-ACC running back Mark Walton will undergo surgery on his right ankle and will be out the remainder of the season.
Walton suffered the injury on a run in the fourth quarter of the FSU game and immediately started limping. He needed assistance from two trainers to get to the sideline and was then carted off the field.
Walton was already grappled with a left ankle injury sustained against Toledo, causing him to come in and out of games for the past two weeks. It was obvious from his dip in production that he was not himself.
This was a major blow for the Canes, who lost their top running back. He had rushed for 428 yards and three touchdowns in just four games this season, averaging 107 rushing yards per game and ranking third in the ACC.
The surgery will be performed at the UHealth Sports Medicine Institute at The Lennar Foundation Medical Center.
Richt said the surgery will happen “in the next couple of days.”
“I know it’s a type of surgery that guys have recovered 100 percent and haven’t had an issue with that type of thing again,” Richt said. “That’s the good news on that type of deal.”
Walton, a junior, will be draft eligible after this season. With many NFL general managers considering him a top-three round talent, the injury brings into question whether Walton has played his final game in a Miami Hurricanes uniform.
Walton was just five yards short of the 2000-yard career rushing mark at UM.
Miami now turns to sophomore Travis Homer to lead the ground game. He has been impressive in his short stints with the football this season, especially with Walton out of the game. Homer has rushed for 207 yards on 25 carries – an 8.3 yards per carry average.
“He’s done very well,” Richt said. “He’s done well as a runner and on special teams.”
Redshirt junior Trayone Gray, and freshmen Robert Burns and DeeJay Dallas are also expected to get reps behind Homer.
“People have got to step up and be the next man up,” Richt said. “There’s a big void there with Mark not being able to finish.”
Senior receiver Braxton Berrios took to Twitter to show support for his teammate.
“My heart really breaks for my brother MW1 – one of the strongest warriors I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing with,” he said. “This one is for you.”
Walton responded to Berrios saying, “I will be back better than ever out there with y’all boys.”