Georgia State running back Donald Russell is likely out for the rest of the season with a sprained MCL in his left knee. He suffered the injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s 49-24 loss to Villanova.
He is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks, but there are just three games remaining, starting with next week’s game at James Madison.
Russell was arguably the team’s most important player, responsible for 40 percent of the team’s offense before the loss to Villanova. He will finish this season with 747 rushing yards and three touchdowns and 160 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Russell’s absence will put more pressure on an offense that has struggled to find consistency this year. The Panthers are last or next to last in the Colonial Athletic Association in most categories, including points per game (17), rushing offense (116.5) and total offense (317.1).
Russell, a West Palm Beach, Fla. native, transferred to Georgia State (1-7) after two years at Kentucky.
He rushed for 665 yards last year and was the leading rusher in the conference this year heading into the game against the Wildcats. He is now in second with a 93.4-yards-per-game average.
Coach Bill Curry said on Saturday that if Russell’s injury was serious, the team would use a trio of running backs. Travis Evans received most of the carries against Villanova. He has rushed for 61 yards this year. Rosevelt Watson has 85 and Parris Lee has 27.
“The other backs ran extremely well,” Curry said Saturday. “They all ran real well today and they all practice hard. One thing everyone preaches in this sport, if you’ve not a starter, practice as if you are going to start. All of them have practiced well and they played well.”
– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu