October 5, 2010 7:55:00 AM
STARKVILLE -- For the second time in his career, Mississippi State tight end Marcus Green will have a season cut short to injury.
The junior, whose bothersome knee has forced him to miss the last three games, will miss the remainder of the season to repair a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament, coach Dan Mullen announced Monday.
Green, who also has a sprained medial collateral ligament, was hurt Sept. 9 in the second half of a 17-14 loss to Auburn. He has missed the past three games, and will have surgery Thursday to repair his ACL.
Green worked through several limited practice sessions in the past couple of weeks, but it became apparent Green''s knee wasn''t going to improve.
"He has tried to get the swelling out of his knee," Mullen said. "They checked to see if he could play with a brace, but they just didn''t think it would be stable enough."
Mullen and the MSU training staff have known Green could miss the season for the past two weeks.
Green, who redshirted his freshman season in 2007, missed all but two games in 2008 after having hip surgery.
Similar to his first major surgery, Green is expected to return to the field in the spring.
Mullen said Green can apply for a medical redshirt, though the team hasn''t made a decision.
Green was one of seven Southeastern Conference tight ends named to the Mackey Award Watch List. The award recognizes the nation''s top tight end.
The Scooba native''s breakout sophomore season included his first 100-yard game (LSU), the second-most catches on the team (27), and three touchdowns. This season, Green had three catches for 36 yards.
In the wake of Green''s season-ending surgery, the Bulldogs hope to have backup tight end Brandon Henderson back for Saturday''s game at Houston.
Henderson has missed the past two games with an unspecified knee injury, though Mullen said the senior could have played Saturday against Alcorn State.
Mullen said MSU training personnel had cleared Henderson but the player didn''t feel he was 100 percent.
"Brandon was the guy that was kind of the co-starter before," Mullen said. "If he''s healthy, he''ll be the starter. If he''s 90 percent, then we''ll see."
Though Mullen has expressed confidence in upperclassmen backups Kendrick Cook and Thomas Webb, Henderson''s return only lessens the blow to the tight end position. Between Cook, Henderson, and Webb, no player has caught more than 10 passes in a season. The trio have a combined 11 catches to Green''s 31.
Tackle Derek Sherrod said Green''s presence will be missed in the passing game and as an edge blocker.
"(He''s) just a fundamentally sound tight end," Sherrod said. "He''s a great asset to us. He has a lot of experience, and we know he''s going to get the job done when he''s on the field."
No Keenum, no problem
Houston (3-1) won''t name a starting quarterback until game-time, but Mullen doesn''t think it will slow the Cougars down.
Houston lost starting quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Case Keenum to a season-ending ACL surgery in a loss to UCLA, a game in which it also lost backup Cotton Turner to a shoulder injury.
Former Mullen recruit and freshman Terrance Broadway started last week and has performed admirably as the only other quarterback to take snaps since the game against UCLA.
Broadway is 24 of 36 for 258 yards and a touchdown. He likely will start against the Bulldogs, as the Cougars two other options are freshmen.
"If you take a Heisman trophy candidate out of an offense, it will hurt, but it didn''t slow them down against UCLA and they put up big, big numbers against Tulane," Mullen said. "They really haven''t slowed down, and they''re coming off a bye week before us this week. To prepare for whoever they play, they are going to do what they do and run their system."
Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz confirmed Mullen''s assessment of Houston''s spread passing attack, which mirrors Houston coach Kevin Sumlin orchestrated when he was a former coordinator at Texas Tech.
"''System'' sometimes is a dirty word, but they have a style of play and an offense where no matter who the trigger man is, they generally move the ball and score points," Diaz said. "You have to get ready to play their style of offense and system regardless of who the trigger man is."
Last season, the Bulldogs allowed 533 total yards to the Cougars.
UH sits top receiver
Sumlin has suspended leading receiver James Cleveland for Saturday''s game for a violation of team rules.
Cleveland leads the Cougars with 20 catches for 324 yards and three touchdowns. He had 11 catches for 131 yards and two touchdowns against the Bulldogs last season.
"James made a mistake, which is uncharacteristic of him," Sumlin said in a statement released through the school. "I am disappointed because up until now he has done everything we have asked of him. He is very remorseful, and hopefully will use this as a learning experience and be ready to go next week."
Cleveland''s backups have combined to make three catches this season.