Pitt defensive end Ejuan Price is slated to have chest muscle surgery that will keep him from playing in the 2014 season, Panthers coach Paul Chryst announced Wednesday.
Price, a junior, suffered a torn left pectoralis muscle in workouts this week.
This will be the third consecutive season that Price, a Woodland Hills graduate, has been injured. He missed all of 2012 with a right pectoral injury, and played in just six games in 2013 before a season-ending back injury.
“We are incredibly disappointed for Ejuan,” Chryst said in a statement. “We will do everything we can to help him stay encouraged and focused through this challenge.”
Before getting hurt last year, he made four starts for the Panthers and totaled 23 tackles, including four tackles for a loss and one sack. His best game came against Virginia Tech, when he had a career-high eight tackles. He also notched four tackles, including two tackles for a loss, against Virginia.
His injury depletes an already-thin position for the Panthers. Senior David Durham and sophomore Shakir Soto are the likely starters at defensive end, but Price’s absence could mean an increased role for redshirt freshman Luke Maclean or even freshman Rori Blair.
The Panthers finished tied for 66th in Division I-A with 25 sacks, but 11 of those came from defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who was a first-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in May in the NFL draft. One of the biggest questions Pitt faces heading into the 2014 season is how it will replace Donald’s production on the defensive line.
Sam Werner: email@example.com and Twitter @SWernerPG.
Sam Werner: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @SWernerPG First Published July 16, 2014 12:00 AM