After suffering a significant injury to multiple ligaments in the Utah Utes’ Rose Bowl game last season, Utes quarterback Cam Rising has yet to take a snap this season. In Rising’s absence, the Utes have split time between Nate Johnson and Bryson Barnes.
Rising has yet to be cleared to play but has been a full participant in practice over the last month and has traveled with the team. However, Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham has been non-committal on Rising’s status this year.
Cam Rising Injury
In an interview with ESPN, Rising released a statement saying that his initial injury wasn’t a torn ACL, as many believed up to that point. In fact, Rising tore multiple ligaments in his left leg, including his “meniscus, MPFL, and MCL.”
Tearing multiple ligaments in that leg makes his rehab significantly more difficult than just an ACL, and it’s a wonder he’s even been able to practice so far and work to be potentially cleared during the season. Rising has suffered injuries in the past, so he is no stranger to rehabilitation, but coming back from this might be his most impressive feat.
Ahead of Utah’s game against Cal, Utah announced that they would once again opt for a quarterback by committee like they did to start the season. Much like their first two games, Bryson Barnes would take over as the full-time starter, and Nate Johnson would go back to being a “change-of-pace” quarterback. Johnson had served as the starter in the Utes’ last three games.
Neither of these quarterbacks has found much success as the starter this season. There was optimism for Nate Johnson after some encouraging signs, but after Utah’s offense scored just seven points in two straight games, something needed to change for Utah’s offense moving forward.
Utah is 4-1 to begin 2023 and isn’t completely out of the Pac-12 championship race yet, but they will need Rising to come back soon if they want a chance at competing for it with how talented the rest of the Pac-12 looks so far this season.
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As a Ute, Rising has completed 64.1% of his passes for 5,572 yards and 46 touchdowns to 14 interceptions. He has also added 953 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground throughout his career. He is tied for fifth all-time at Utah in starting quarterback wins at 18, a record he will likely break when he returns this season.
When Rising will be able to return is unknown, as many initially thought he would return to play against Cal after Utah’s bye week. Utah has games against USC, Washington, and Oregon coming up soon and will need their star quarterback healthy and ready to go if they want to compete for a third straight Pac-12 championship.
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