JMU Athletic Communications
HARRISONBURG — James Madison sophomore right guard Gerren Butler is out for the season, coach Mike Houston said Tuesday.
Butler started the first four games at the position for the Dukes this season, but went down with an ACL injury during the team’s Sept. 23 win over Maine. He was also unable to play this past Saturday in JMU’s 20-10 win at Delaware.
Top-ranked JMU is currently on its bye week.
“He’s going to have surgery this Friday, which is disappointing because he had come on just so, so much,” Houston said. “I think the big positive we can take with him is that there’s no rush.
“We’re going to get the surgery, we’re going to rehab it really, really well and really get him back to full strength. We’re not going to rush him back, that way, hopefully he’s full strength and ready to go for next fall.”
Butler is the fourth player JMU has lost to a season-ending injury this year.
Senior running back Cardon Johnson went down with an Achilles injury in Week 3 against Norfolk State. Junior cornerback Charles Tutt tore his ACL in preseason camp and sophomore offensive tackle Tyree Chavious tore his Achilles during the summer.
Houston said he is also monitoring two more potentially season-ending injuries.
Junior linebacker Dimitri Holloway had surgery last Friday, according to Houston. Holloway initially underwent surgery on his right foot in the offseason and has tried to get back to 100 percent since. The Newport News native played in the team’s opening win at FBS East Carolina. He had six tackles and a quarterback hurry.
“It could be season ending, but it’s just going to depend on his recovery time,” Houston said of Holloway’s injury. “The thing to factor in is once he is cleared, how long does it take him to get back in playing shape? And what’s the season look like from there?
“At the end of the day, it’s mostly likely going to be a season-ending injury and we’ll apply for a medical redshirt at the end of the year for him to get his year back.”
Another linebacker JMU has been without is junior Robert Carter Jr., who has also served as a special teams standout for the last two seasons.
A preseason All-Colonial Athletic Association special teamer, Carter Jr., recorded two tackles in the first two games of the season.
“He had surgery two weeks ago, so he’s recovering,” Houston said. “Again we’re going to have to see how the recovery is. Most likely, it’s season-ending, but you just never know.”
One positive for the Dukes is Houston said he expects wide receiver John Miller back for next Saturday’s game against Villanova.
Miller got hit hard while trying to catch a punt against Norfolk State. He was limited the next week against Maine, but did not dress for the game at Delaware.
Miller has 10 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. He is also the team’s primary punt returner and returned a punt for a touchdown in Week 2 against East Tennessee State.
“We’re 2-0 in the CAA, 5-0 on the season,” Houston said. “So I’m happy with where we’re at going into the bye week. We’ll be able to get a head start on Villanova this week and address some issues that we want to with ourselves this week and then get some bumps and bruises healed back up to get ready for the second half of the season.”
Senior Nick Edwards earned the start at right guard against Delaware in place of Butler and is likely to remain there.
Edwards was one of three players, along with senior wide receiver Terrence Alls and senior linebacker Brandon Hereford, to play in their first game of the season this past Saturday. The three returned from a four-game suspension.
“Nick did a great job,” offensive coordinator Donnie Kirkpatrick said. “Nick went in and he originally was going to be the tackle, and because of injuries we plugged him in at guard. So he had to learn guard within a week, and that was a little different for him. But he did really well.”
Houston said he was also encouraged by the play of Alls and Hereford. Alls had three catches for 25 yards. Hereford led the team with 11 tackles.
“Brandon over-scraped some things because he was playing so fast and getting things timed up to game speed,” Houston said. “I thought Terrence played well and just with all of a sudden playing things at game speed, he realized he probably needed to be conditioned a little more.”