Four plays after coming back from injury, center David Molk suffers season-ending ACL tear

Zachary Meisner/Daily
Buy this photo

Daily Sports Editor
Published October 26, 2009

Somehow, David Molk’s bad break just got worse.


Click above to watch Rich Rodriguez's comments.

Five weeks after breaking his foot against Eastern Michigan on a fluke play, the center tore his right anterior cruciate ligament during his first drive back on the field, Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez confirmed Monday.

The new injury, suffered on the fourth play of Michigan's 35-10 loss to Penn State on Saturday, means Molk will be out for the remainder of the season.

Rodriguez said the redshirt sophomore will have knee surgery as soon as the swelling goes down. Molk will also miss spring practice, but could participate in summer workouts if the surgery goes as planned.

"He was running really well all week in practice, and I talked to him about it this morning, and he said it's kind of crazy, he felt good, running good,” Rodriguez said. “I just feel bad for Dave because he’s had so much bad luck.”

Rodriguez said the tear was a non-contact injury where Molk "planted funny on one of the run plays," and it was not related to any possible or lingering pain in his foot. He walked off the field on his own after the injury.

After Saturday’s game, Molk was standing and walking without help, though he was terse when asked about how it felt to be hurt so early in the game.

“Do I really have to spell that out for you?” he said derisively.

After breaking his foot in the first half of the Eastern Michigan game on Sept. 19, Molk played for much of the rest of the game. He also didn't seem to know the extent of his knee injury immediately after Saturday’s game, saying, “Uh, it’s not bad. I’ll be back.”

Redshirt sophomore defensive tackle Ryan Van Bergen, Molk’s roommate, said Molk had told him the same thing — that he would be back and ready to play this week. But yesterday, Molk went to Van Bergen’s room to share the bad news.

“(Molk) got a phone call from the doctors saying, ‘You’re probably not going to be able to play the rest of the season,’ ” Van Bergen said. “He’s really good at hiding emotions. I think he’s obviously upset. Anybody would be upset if you weren’t going to play the rest of the season.

“But he took it really well, and he just says, ‘You gotta pick up the slack for me a little bit.’ ”

Picking up the slack for Molk will be fifth-year senior David Moosman, who moved from right guard to center for the four games during Molk's absence. Redshirt sophomore Mark Huyge will again shift from right tackle to right guard, and redshirt junior Perry Dorrestein will take over Huyge's spot at right tackle.

When Moosman was called to switch to center after Molk’s injury Saturday, the offense appeared to lose rhythm gained during the opening touchdown drive. The struggles were especially evident on a second-quarter miscommunication that led to a snap out of the Michigan end zone for a Penn State safety.

“It was loud down there and Moosman didn’t hear me, and I didn’t say anything so I don’t know why he snapped it, but he did,” quarterback Tate Forcier said Saturday.

The team experienced similar growing pains against Indiana, the first game after Molk broke his foot, where the Wolverines recorded six dropped snaps.

Moosman seemed to find his groove by the Iowa and Delaware State games, though, and putting a veteran back at the position will likely make the Wolverines’ transition easier before they head to Illinois this weekend. But echoing what Rodriguez said the Monday after the Eastern Michigan game, Molk is one of the team’s best players, which makes the loss especially tough for the team.

“It’s not an individual thing for him, which is why the coaches and everybody loves him so much,” Van Bergen said. “He went out there on a torn ACL and a bad foot to play for the team.”

Note: Michigan's home game against Purdue on Nov. 7 will be at 12 p.m. on the Big Ten Network, the conference announced Monday.