Alabama’s Mark Ingram out for opener – will he miss Penn State game, too?

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 07: Running back Mark Ingram #22 of the Alabama Crimson Tide celebrates with the BCS Championship trophy after winning the Citi BCS National Championship game over the Texas Longhorns at the Rose Bowl on January 7, 2010 in Pasadena, California. The Crimson Tide defeated the Longhorns 37-21. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Alabama head coach Nick Saban announced today that Heisman running back Mark Ingram will miss the team’s opener this Saturday after having arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday morning.

The story here, however, isn’t that Ingram will miss the San Jose State game. If ‘Bama can’t beat San Jose State then they don’t deserve to be mentioned as BCS title contenders, even though Ingram wouldn’t have suited up for the contest.

The bigger story is whether or not Ingram will play against Penn State, which is the Tide’s second game of the season and obviously their first real test in 2010.

The Penn State game is in 11 days. I’m no doctor, but I’ve never heard of a player coming back from knee surgery to play a football game in 11 days. Ingram may very well be able to do it, but that seems like an awfully ambitious recovery time for that type of injury.

Granted, Saban has made it clear that the operation isn’t serious and Ingram is expected to be back soon. But 11 days? This seems like a two-week injury at least and a four-week injury at most, but again, I’m not a doctor.

But let’s assume for a moment that the Tide will be without Ingram. They should get past San Jose State on Saturday, but can the trio of Trent Richardson Eddie Lacy and Demetrius Goode carry ‘Bama against the Nittany Lions in Week 2?

Keep in mind that this shouldn’t be as strong a PSU team as we’ve seen the past couple of years and ‘Bama does have the luxury of playing this game at home. The Lions also had to replace all three starters at linebacker from last year and they have issues at the quarterback position.

But it’s still Penn State, who will no doubt be looking to use the Alabama game to make a statement for the rest of the year. And if Ingram can’t go, then the Lions certainly have a shot to pull off the upset, even with the number of weapons the Tide have on offense this year.

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