When Texas Longhorns sophomore quarterback Sam Ehlinger was forced to the sidelines by the officials on the first drive against the Baylor Bears on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, it was for a bloodied hand.
Head coach Tom Herman said after the game that he expected Ehlinger to sit out for a play, deal with the cut, then return to the game.
“Coach, my shoulder is messed up. Coach, my shoulder is messed up,” Ehlinger said, according to Herman.
Ehlinger had hurt the shoulder several plays before, likely on a running game that ended with several Baylor players landing on him and driving that throwing shoulder into the artificial turf.
When Ehlinger left the game, he was taken into the medical tent and then into the locker room. When he finally emerged, he was clearly favoring his throwing shoulder and quickly put on a headset. The medical staff gave him some anti-inflammatory medication in the hopes that he might be able to return for the second half, but Ehlinger still wasn’t able to do much with his shoulder at halftime, so he was ruled out for the remainder of the game.
The initial diagnosis is an AC sprain. Ehlinger will have a precautionary MRI to check for any further damage, but Herman was hopeful that his starter will be able to throw the football again by the end of the week.
The AC joint is the three ligaments that connect the collarbone to the knob or tip of the shoulder, with sprains of that joint graded on a six-point scale. So the degree of Ehlinger’s sprain will play a large role in determining how much time he misses.
The timing is as fortuitous as possible since the Horns are headed into the only bye week of the season. And Herman also praised backup quarterback Shane Buechele, the junior and one-time starter who entered the game and did enough to lead Texas to victory.
Now Ehlinger will rest and recover and rehabilitate in hopes of playing against Oklahoma State in Stillwater on October 27.