ORONO, Maine — Jared Turcotte confirmed Wednesday the news University of Maine football fans have been dreading — he will be sidelined indefinitely.
The sophomore All-America fullback out of Lewiston High School revealed he underwent successful surgery Monday to repair a “lower abdominal injury,” one the details of which he would not divulge.
“I feel all right a couple days out of surgery,” Turcotte said. “It’s a little bit sore, but I’m getting better already.”
Turcotte, an ice bag tucked under the waistband of his sweatpants on the left side of his torso, spoke about the disappointment of being injured and unable to contribute this season.
“It’s been real frustrating being on the sideline and watching,” he said. “It’s not really something that you look forward to doing. But it is what it is. You can’t really cry over spilled milk. It happened, I’m injured.”
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Turcotte, an All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team pick and an All-America second-team choice at fullback in 2008, said he hurt himself during offseason workouts.
“The first time I really felt something weird was the last week of July, training,” he said. “I really figured that we’ve got a whole week off before (training) camp starts and just rest up and I’ll be good to go for camp, but it didn’t really turn out that way.”
Turcotte and the UMaine training and medical staffs chose a wait-and-see approach with the injury, hoping it would resolve itself with rest.
“Yeah, that’s what we initially had figured, but after the rest it still didn’t really feel right,” he explained, saying that is what prompted further medical evaluation and advice.
Cosgrove said Turcotte had returned to practice during the week prior to the Sept. 12 game at Northeastern and seemed to be ready to play, but then had a setback later in the week that forced them to re-evaluate the situation.
“I think probably the approach that you try to take is one of conservatism as opposed to aggressiveness sometimes in cases like this,” Cosgrove said, “but when it got to a point where there was not a lot of progress with a conservative approach, you become more aggressive.”
Turcotte’s absence leaves UMaine without perhaps its most potent offensive weapon. Last season, he led the Bears in both rushing and receiving with emotional play that seemed to inspire his teammates.
Turcotte rushed for 625 yards (6.0 yards per carry) and seven touchdowns last fall and also made 25 receptions for 285 yards and a TD.
“He brings something to the team that we’re missing right now, not just on the field but his attitude off the field,” said senior wide receiver Landis Williams. “He has the ability to pick other guys up.”
He was named a preseason first-team All-American by The Sporting News.
“Yeah, it’s a big loss,” Cosgrove said.
“He’s a leader of this football team, so there’s a void there,” he added.
Turcotte, the 2006 Fitzpatrick Trophy winner as the state’s top senior football player, has been instructed to lay low and rest for the first week of his recuperation. He’ll see his doctor next Tuesday and hopes to find out what his recovery and rehabilitation will entail.
“It’s fixed now and now I’ve just got to focus on getting back on the field,” he said.
In the meantime, the Bears must move on without Turcotte.
“That’s football,” offered Cosgrove, whose team faces a stiff challenge in Saturday’s 7 p.m. contest at Big East member Syracuse.
Sophomore tailback Derek Session has been UMaine’s workhorse in Turcotte’s absence. He ranks second in the CAA, having rushed for 105 yards per game, and has scored three touchdowns.
BEAR TRACKS: UMaine senior linebacker Mark Masterson, who missed the Albany game and much of the Northeastern contest with an ankle injury, was back on the practice field Wednesday. He had been wearing an immobilizing boot on the ankle and did not participate in Tuesday’s workout.