Surgery probable for Tech’s Holton

Georgia Tech safety Fred Holton, his coaches and trainers had hoped that his tendon injury would heal and permit him to play. It appears, though, that time and hope may have run out for the 2012 season.

Season-ending surgery is an increasingly likely option to repair the posterior tibialis tendon in his lower left leg. After he tore it in an preseason scrimmage in August, trainers have been rehabbing the injury in hopes that it would heal and permit Holton to play, but the recovery has been slow and Holton has yet to see the field through seven games.

Tech sports medicine director Jay Shoop said coaches and medical staff are close to a  point where a decision needs to be made about surgery.

“It certainly is a possibility, probably a probability,” Shoop said.

Holton’s hard luck continues. After playing as a true freshman out of Thomasville High in 2010, he was in competition for a starting safety spot in the 2011 preseason when he tore the Achilles tendon in his left leg and missed the entire season. After completing his rehabilitation, Holton was in line to start at safety this preseason and was receiving positive reviews from teammates when he partially tore the posterior tibialis tendon, which extends from the calf to the inside of the foot.

While both the Achilles and posterior tibialis were tendon injuries in Holton’s lower left leg, Shoop said there “wasn’t anything directly that could correlate” the two.

With the injury, there are two courses – rehab to promote healing or surgery. Surgery requires a three- or four-month rehabilitation and is season-ending, so the training staff opted for rehab.

“We felt like he had a chance to get better,” he said.

It is a tricky injury. Shoop, who has more than 40 years of experience in sports medicine, said he couldn’t remember seeing an injury like Holton’s in a long time. When he has consulted  with colleagues, Shoop said, “the first thing they say (is), ‘That’s a bad injury.’”

“I know he’s frustrated,” coach Paul Johnson said last week. “We are, too. We thought he’d be back for the first game and now it’s halfway through the season.”

Ultimately, the degree of the tear was worse than what medical professionals could tell from the MRI.

“It’s a bad injury,” Shoop said. “It just didn’t get better.”

In addition to attending practice, Holton has rehabbed daily with Shoop and has reached the point where he can walk with comfort, run and backpedal. But the tendon, which helps the foot flex its muscles and rise up on its toes, has not permitted explosive movement.

“He’s a good kid. He’s done all the right things,” Shoop said. “Frustrating is a good word for all of us.”

As a result of the Achilles tear in 2011, Holton took a redshirt last season, leaving him three years of eligibility. While athletes typically have five years to complete their four seasons of eligibility, it’s possible Holton could receive a sixth year from the NCAA as a medical hardship case.

Because he is not practicing, Holton is not available for interviews, per team policy. Cornerback Louis Young said that Holton has been in good spirits despite the uncertainty and frustration. Holton has helped encourage Young through his own injuries, he said.

The injury has been “tough for him, tough for us,” Young said. “We want him out there.”

That desire may have to wait until spring practice, if not longer.

In case you missed it…

Finch motivated by Tech streaks

Notes: Tech faces age-gap challenge vs. BYU

Notes: Johnson’s concerns about BYU

Notes: Field-goal unit needing repair

Tech-Maryland at 12:30 p.m.

Tech vs. highly ranked run defenses

With BYU next, no-huddle issues loom for Tech

Thanks for reading.

Ken Sugiura, Georgia Tech blog

40 comments Add your comment

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
9:48 pm

First! I’m glad Tech came out and said Fred was going to have surger. It’s about time.

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
9:49 pm

Surgery, that is.

[...] Surgery probable for Tech’s Holton [...]

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
9:51 pm

Or continue to have rehab….

Ken Sugiura

October 24th, 2012
9:53 pm

slow down, GTGirl!

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
9:56 pm

Thanks Ken, I will. Thanks for writing an article about Fred finally. Lots of Tech fans on the blogs have been asking about him. He is a fine young man and a very hard worker on the field.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 24th, 2012
10:17 pm

If BYU athletes can have 6 years to finish up because of mission work (and I don’t mean that negatively), then surely Fred can get another year for a medical hardship.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 24th, 2012
10:18 pm

Fred, get it fixed and hurry back. We’re looking forward to seeing you play again. DGYJ. ” GO JACKETS “

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
10:21 pm

Pray for Fred and his injury to heal!!!

Supersize that order, mutt

October 24th, 2012
10:22 pm

@ GIVE ME……missed seeing y’all last week. Hope you’ll be able to stop by this week. Same time, same place.

GTGirl

October 24th, 2012
10:24 pm

What’s for lunch Super?

Supersize that order, mutt

October 24th, 2012
10:33 pm

@ GTGirl…..beats me; I haven’t heard

ToeMeetsLeather

October 24th, 2012
10:37 pm

Fred, get it fixed, rehab, hit the books and get ready to “lay the wood” in 13!

...Take The Wheel

October 24th, 2012
10:38 pm

Wow that’s tough news. Not just from a selfish perspective, I just know how hard sitting out again will be for him. He will need to surround himself with good people. This is going to as mentally trying as it is physical. Im sure his teammates will rally around him.

Best wishes to him…

GT Fan

October 24th, 2012
11:06 pm

Medical RS will be a guarantee … Other than pre-season practice, yes Iverson we’re talkin practice, FH has not come close to playing a down in game this season. I’d love the NCAA to tell me why they wouldn’t grant him a Med-RS.

The only way FH doesn’t get granted a MedRS is if a former UNC Alum, now NCAA investigator, tells DRad not to say anything and DRad then says something.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 24th, 2012
11:17 pm

LOL @ GT Fan

1 4 GT

October 24th, 2012
11:28 pm

Email replied to Super

1 4 GT

October 24th, 2012
11:32 pm

2nd email answered Super…..answer is no I have not!

1 4 GT

October 24th, 2012
11:44 pm

Been reading a book about Tech! I give it a good recommendation. “100 ThingsYellow Jacket Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”. Got it thru amazon.com.

GIVE ME A BREAK

October 25th, 2012
12:23 am

SS, will do.

G.P. Burdell

October 25th, 2012
12:48 am

So for all of those wondering and saying it was another conspiracy of PJ not saying what, if any, injury Holten had and it was PJ wanting to keep him out for some other reason…there you go.

ed

October 25th, 2012
7:01 am

Tech has the worst fans in college! Most don’t come to the games and when some do come…they leave early when it looks like a loss!

GT71

October 25th, 2012
7:20 am

Calm down, Ed – you’re not on TV.

5150 UOAD

October 25th, 2012
7:25 am

Sorry for Fred. I hope he does well in the surgery and get back to playing soon.

GTpack

October 25th, 2012
7:26 am

Fred get the surgery done now, then you will have plenty of time to get your strength back and be ready for spring practice.

So why all the secrecy about the injury...

October 25th, 2012
8:19 am

…outlined by Supersize and the family of Fred –

And, yes, he should easily qualify for the medical redshirt, but the main question is why would he want it if he graduates on time and could get decent job with his Tech degree (as most on here like to say)…it’s not like he is a sure fire pro prospect; and, even if he was, with his medical history most teams would shy away from risking a draft pick for him…

Ken Sugiura

October 25th, 2012
9:02 am

Johnson is vague about injuries. i’m sure he has his reasons, but i don’t know what they are. he’s not the only coach to handle it in that manner.
as for why would he want a redshirt year, for the same reason that most college football players would – to keep playing. he could leave and get a job, but why not wait a year and do something he presumably enjoys?

GTVegas

October 25th, 2012
9:43 am

I do not blame CPJ or any coach, for that matter, for beign vague about injuries. These kinds of things can damage any hope of a future career doing what these kids love to do, play football.

I know a guy in Las Vegas with a son the same age as my own. Several years back, this kid had pretty major knee surgery. He is a senior this year and his father always had hopes that he would get a scholarship. A few years ago, he and a couple of friends were talking about his knee issues. His father went balistic, knowing that the information could have an impact on his recruiting if not fully explained in a controlled manner.

Injuries and their explanation are very important and need to be handled in the right manner for the benefit of the individual involved.

GTVegas

October 25th, 2012
9:50 am

Forgot to mention they were talking on-line, facebook.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2012
10:03 am

@ So why …. He might also like to begin graduate school and with that medical redshirt year, he could continue playing football for another year. That’s what TW is doing now, as well as others before him.

5150 UOAD

October 25th, 2012
10:14 am

In this ECONOMY Why leave unless you have a GREAT JOB OFFER? He will get to play football(which he loves) and still get more FREE EDUCATION at TECH. That is a Win-Win as they say.

juvenal

October 25th, 2012
10:53 am

hippa has everything to do with it,: as “amateurs”, it is the players right to not want the information released(due to gambling, pro waive this as part of their employee contract)-Ken, we start noonish…..

Augusta Jacket

October 25th, 2012
11:13 am

Glad to hear some news on Fred. It’ll be good to have him back next year.

Regarding "why"...

October 25th, 2012
11:49 am

…it is also probable that “whoever” is the Tech coach at the time of the medical RS 6th year may not want to give up a scholly for a freshman in order for him to be on scholly – remember, they are only allowed to have 85 on scholly at any given time, hence, depending upon his productivity when he is well (if ever) then he may not be wanted….

And, believe it or not...

October 25th, 2012
11:52 am

…playing football is VERY DIFFICULT at this level, thus, no matter how much one may love the game, there comes a time when reality sets in and guys realize that it just ain’t worth the price they pay (and in this case, have already paid) with their bodies…

1 4 GT

October 25th, 2012
12:35 pm

Regarding…………………..I sorta think CPJ would let Fred have another year if he wanted it. CPJ seems me like the kind of coach that fits the Tech ideology very well. They are his guys 1st & he wants them to do well & assists them all he can. Helping in arranging internships sound familiar? And, beli……………You may just be right as rain with your comment. It is a tough game at any level & can & does take a toll on the body over the long haul.

Supersize that order, mutt

October 25th, 2012
1:30 pm

@ Regarding……regardless of who is the coach at the time, Johnson or somebody else, it is a LONG-STANDING policy at Tech NOT to pull scholarships under any circumstances.

Sorry, Super...

October 25th, 2012
1:47 pm

…not sure if that policy stands for 5th or 6th year…

1 4 GT

October 25th, 2012
9:50 pm

sory, su……………..there is a program to help student athletes finish their degrees after their playing days are over. TW is playing in his 5th year & working on his MBA under scholarship………..it is a long standing tradition of letting a kid stay on scholarship………..CBD said it kinda like this & it is a big part of why GT left the SEC….I/we don’t pull a kids scholarship to make room for a better player…..it’s not his fault that someone else might be better…..that is my/our fault for misjudging his abilities/talents…..GT does not pull scholarships as long as a kid wants to stay, has eligibility & makes grades