Texas Longhorns lose Johnathan Gray, Chris Whaley to season-ending injuries

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The win in Morgantown came at a high price.

After the perfect storm of injuries that contributed to the losses against BYU and Ole Miss, the Texas Longhorns had mostly avoided significant losses until the West Virginia game, when running back Johnathan Gray and defensive tackle Chris Whaley left the game.

On Sunday evening, the school revealed that both players will undergo season-ending surgery.

Head coach Mack Brown said that he believed Whaley, the former running back who scored touchdowns against Oklahoma and Kansas, was shooting up draft boards based on his strong play. He was rolled up on early in the game and left in tears, clearly distraught. His knee injury was undisclosed, but will end his Texas career.

Gray had seized control of the starting running back job early in the season, leading the team with 780 rushing yards on nearly five yards per carry. The injury to his Achilles came on a six-yard reception just after his longest run of the day, a 27-yard effort, a significant setback because unlike the tears of knee ligaments, from which players can often return.

For NFL players, a study from 1997 to 2002 determined that 31% of  players injured never returned to play another down. The players who were able to return suffered significant decreases in their games played and overall performance, while the typical recovery time was 11 month for players who did return -- even in a best-case scenario, it's unlikely that Gray will be ready for the start of the 2014 season.

In these situations, coaches will simply point to the need for depth, but both Whaley and Gray were leaders of the defensive and offensive units, respectively, so their losses will be felt more than just on the field. And the on-field losses will be significant as well, though Desmond Jackson played well against West Virginia and Joe Bergeron has certainly proven himself capable in the past.

The Longhorns are still alive in the battle for the Big 12 title, but winning it just got more difficult with the loss of Whaley and Gray.

More from Burnt Orange Nation:

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Burnt Orange Nation

You must be a member of Burnt Orange Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Burnt Orange Nation. You should read them.

Join Burnt Orange Nation

You must be a member of Burnt Orange Nation to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Burnt Orange Nation. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker