Columbia starting QB Hunsberger tears ACL
By Jason Elliott Columbia Daily Spectator

NEW YORK (U-WIRE) -- Head coach Bob Shoop said a few weeks ago, "I'm anxious to see what happens when we get hit with the first bit of adversity. How are we going to respond to that as coaches and as players?"

The answer to Shoop's question may come sooner than he expected, because junior quarterback and team leader Steve Hunsberger has torn his ACL in his left knee. Hunsberger met with Dr. Russ Warren from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City Thursday evening to discuss surgery and rehab options. As of Friday, Hunsberger faces a choice between two distinct methods of surgery, both of which will sideline the quarterback for at least 120 days plus time for extensive rehabilitation.

Hunsberger thought he had first sustained the injury while performing vertical leap testing in Levien Gym two days ago. He met with doctors who determined that the injury could have occurred as far back as a year ago and that Hunsberger was playing on the knee injury all of last season.

The quarterback will have surgery on either March 26 or 27 and hopes to be back to playing strength within four to five months.

The Lions start training camp at the end of August under their new coach, Shoop, and Hunsberger fully expects to be ready to get under center by then.

"Camp's almost guaranteed," he said.

Shoop said he did not as of Thursday night have enough information about the injury to comment on whether Hunsberger will be able to remain the Lions' starting quarterback once fall camp rolls around. Since accepting the head coach's job in January, Shoop has expressed nothing but total confidence in his starting quarterback, saying in February that the Lions could win an Ivy title behind Hunsberger. But now that his workhorse is sidelined for almost half a year, Shoop must look down the depth chart at sophomore Jeff Otis and first-year Joe Winters to fill the hole vacated by Hunsberger.

"Jeff [Otis] and Joe [Winters] really have to step up," Shoop said.

Hunsberger completed 57.3 percent of his passes last season for 2,023 yards and six touchdowns. He also rushed for a average of 16.6 yards per game on 136 total carries.

(C) 2002 Columbia Daily Spectator via U-WIRE.

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