The Johnnies took practice indoors to the McNeely Spectrum Tuesday to avoid the rain as they began focusing on this Saturday’s MIAC matchup at Carleton in Northfield.
Sophomores Sam Sura and Reid Bjorklund each got back the results of their MRIs Tuesday afternoon. The South St. Paul graduates, and roommates, each suffered knee injuries in last Saturday’s 30-28 win over Augsburg.
For Sura, who leads St. John’s in rushing with 93 carries for 392 yards and four touchdowns, the news was better. He has a sprained right lateral collateral ligament and said he is expected to miss about two weeks, which will keep him out against Carleton Saturday. But he could return in time for a matchup against Gustavus on Nov. 2 when the Johnnies return to the field after their bye week.
For Bjorklund, however, the news was grimmer. He suffered a torn left anterior cruciate ligament and will miss the rest of the season.
It’s a tough blow for the Johnnies defense. Bjorklund, the starting outside linebacker, ranked third on the team in tackles with 36 and had recovered two fumbles.
“It’s just devastating,” head coach Gary Fasching said. “He’s been one of our best defensive players all year. He’s really like a quarterback defensively because of the way he understands the game.
“(Freshman) Carter Hanson came in for him and played well Saturday. We’ll get him up to speed and ready this week in practice. But Reid is a really big loss because of all he’s been doing.”
There were other players sitting out Tuesday as well, including senior starting quarterback Connor Bruns, who said he was just resting a sore foot and expected to try and return to practice Wednesday.
Senior offensive tackle Jack Hedlund sat out with a lingering stinger in his shoulder. And senior defensive lineman Nate Blenker said he suffered a strained labrum in the win over Augsburg. His status for this weekend is still uncertain.
As SJU SID Ryan Klinkner tweeted Monday, the Johnnies defense ranks No. 1 in the NCAA Division III rankings this season in fumbles recovered (13), No. 4 in turnovers forced (20) and No. 5 in red zone defense (opposing teams are just 8-for-20).
And that wraps up a busy day for me. I hit three practices today. You read all about football here.
Look for my Day 1 practice stories on the St. John’s and St. Benedict basketball teams (with video) online at sctimes.com after 12:30 a.m. or in Wednesday’s edition of the Times.