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Choice may be ready to play against Hokies

POSTED: October 27, 2007 5:05 a.m.
ATLANTA — Initial fears that Tashard Choice may have suffered a season-ending injury on Saturday disappeared on Tuesday when arthroscopic surgery revealed no serious damage to the cartilage in his right knee.

Choice, the Georgia Tech senior and the Atlantic Coast Conference’s leading rusher, is not expected to play on Nov. 1 against Virginia Tech, but that may be the only game he misses, according to coach Chan Gailey.

In fact, with Georgia Tech off this week, Choice was so enthused on Tuesday that he even talked — apparently half-seriously — with Gailey about playing against Virginia Tech.

"I know he was excited about that and talking to him, he doesn’t say he’s out of the Virginia Tech game, but that’s Tashard," Gailey said. "It would be an awful long shot for him to play in this one."

Gailey said Choice would have continued in his role as a vocal leader even if the injury ended his season.

"You know what, if he hadn’t been able to play, we wouldn’t have lost him," Gailey said. "He would have been right there with us emotionally and in every other way.

So we wouldn’t have lost him no matter what happened, but it worked out great for everybody."

Choice had to be helped from the field and carted to the locker room in the first quarter of Saturday’s 34-10 win over Army after the injury to his right knee.

He had difficulty straightening his leg.

Choice still delivered a halftime pep talk, and the Yellow Jackets outscored Army 21-0 in the second half as senior Rashaun Grant rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown.

Quarterback Taylor Bennett said Choice, on crutches, had his normal smile as he passed on the good news from his surgery on Tuesday.

"It was the best news possible in his case," Bennett said.

"We know that he’s going to be OK and we’re going to get a chance to play with him again this season. It’s nothing really that serious for his career and stuff. It was kind of a relief for everybody."

Bennett said Choice knows he won’t play against Virginia Tech, no matter what the senior told Gailey.

"He just said ‘I’ll be ready to go when I can. You’ll have to carry them this week,"’ Bennett said.

Choice is averaging 108 yards rushing, despite being limited by a hamstring injury in two games before missing most of the Army game.

Gailey said he planned to use three tailbacks against Virginia Tech: Grant, freshman Jonathan Dwyer and sophomore Jamaal Evans.

"We’ll go with a three-man deal," Gailey said. "All three of them are going to play in the ballgame. Who starts really to me is immaterial. It will be a team effort."

Grant, who missed the fourth quarter of the Army game after taking a hit above his ankle, was held out of Tuesday’s practice but said he expects to be ready for the Thursday night game against Virginia Tech.



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