Southern Miss sophomore running back Jalen Richard did not take part in Friday's first practice of fall camp after having surgery for an undisclosed knee injury.
First-year USM head coach Todd Monken, who typically avoids discussion on player injuries, briefly talked about the hobbled Richard Friday.
“He had a little procedure on his knee,” Monken said. “We'll have him when we have him.”
Richard was expected to play a big part of the USM backfield after finishing second on the team in rushing in 2012 with 426 yards and four touchdowns on 87 carries.
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Richard's injury opens up the possibility of true freshman George Payne getting playing time this season.
“Payne could actually help out a whole lot with Jalen down,” senior running back Jeremy Hester said. “He takes just as many reps as we do. It's not like he's being held back because he's a freshman. If he gets in early and learns the system early, maybe he can contribute this fall. He's doing good as a freshman. This is his first time doing it. He picked up the system pretty quick.”
The Golden Eagles return three other running backs who have earned significant playing time – Jeremy Hester, Kendrick Hardy and Tyre Bracken.