By REED NELSON
Eugene, OR — Chalk another Duck up to the injury bug, and what a scary bug it is.
Oregon’s defense, already decimated by injuries, lost another key piece on Saturday night when free safety Avery Patterson was helped off the field due to what was later revealed as torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, according to the Adam Jude of the Oregonian.
The news merely confirmed what most Oregon fans had been suspecting since he was spotted on the sidelines using crutches in the second half of the Ducks blowout win.
Patterson, a junior, is leading all Oregon defensive backs with 44, and he is tied for the team lead with three interceptions (two of which he returned for touchdowns). He was already filling in for John Boyett, the safety formerly known as Oregon’s Defensive Rock. Boyett went down in week one with a knee injury that required season-ending surgery as well.
Patterson had been as significant a force in the secondary as any Oregon supporter could have asked for — maybe even surpassing the play-making ability of his predecessor, and was certainly exceeding all expectations.
It now appears that sophomore Erick Dargan, who has 38 tackles and an interception this season, will start on Friday against Stanford.