Parling lost for season with torn ACL

Heath Parling

Heath Parling

Brady Fredericksen

Just two passes into Saturday’s game at Tiffin University, Grand Valley State University junior quarterback Heath Parling’s season came to a sudden end.

The preseason All-American left the field limping early in the second quarter after tearing his ACL, giving way to backup Isiah Grimes at quarterback. Grimes, a sophomore, finished the game 10-for-15 with a pair of touchdowns to go with 143 yards and an interception.

“It was actually on the deep ball to Charles (Johnson) that got completed there down to the one-yard line. I just got my cleat stuck in the turf a little bit and it kind of buckle —I figured I was alright,” Parling said. “That next series, I was just running up to the the pile, trying to get Chris (Robinson) out of there and get those defensive guys off of him, and it was the first time I really had to plant on my right leg and it kind of just gave way.”

GVSU feared the worst after the game, with head coach Matt Mitchell speculating that once MRI results came back the prognosis would be a season-ending ACL tear — and he was right, as an MRI confirmed Sunday.

The average recovery time for a torn ACL ranges from nine to 12 months, effectively putting Parling on the sideline until mid-summer at the earliest.

GVSU defeated Tiffin 28-0 Saturday, but will be forced to go forward into this weekend’s home game against Ohio Dominican University with Grimes at the helm. Running the ball has been a point of emphasis in this early season, and that shouldn’t change as the Lakers move on with inexperience at quarterback.

“I feel bad for him because he’s put in a lot of time and effort to get to this point,” Mitchell said. “He can still have an impact on this football team, and he will have an impact on this football team because he’s one of our strongest leaders and is also very intelligent and understands what we want to do. I know that he will be helping out our whole offense throughout the course of the week and he’ll be helping them out on game days, too. He’s still a big part of what’s going to happen here in 2012, it’s not like we’re putting him out to pasture or something.“

Parling’s injury now leaves the GVSU offense without three of its top weapons from 2011, with junior tailback Hersey Jackson week-to-week with an undisclosed injury and senior tailback Norman Shuford redshirting this season after tearing his ACL late last season.
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