Ryan Torain has played his final game at Arizona State, coach Dennis Erickson announced following practice on Wednesday. Erickson said that Torain would need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left foot. The injury occurred late in the first half of a 44-20 victory over Washington on Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.
"Ryan Torain has got the lisfranc sprain which is basically a torn ligament in the mid-foot which deals with the (stability of the) big toe," Erickson said. "He'll be out for the season unfortunately. He's given so much to this program and to this team. Things like this happen. That's part of the game of football."
In his initial year with the program last season, Torain became the first Sun Devil to rush for over 1,200 yards in a season since Freddie Williams in 1975.
Torain was having another strong campaign this season, with 553 rushing yards on 110 attempts (5.0 yards per carry), with five rushing touchdowns in six games. He had also caught seven passes for 100 yards and two more scores.
"It's also very unfortunate for our football team and it's unfortunate more for Ryan than it is for anybody," Erickson said. "Like anything that happens during the year, somebody's got to step up and take his place. The bottom line is, as I said earlier, he's given so much to the program and to see him get hurt after seven games of his senior year is very tough."
Torain will have surgery to repair the injury on Friday, and then spend 4-to-6 weeks off the foot. Total recovery time is expected to be between four and six months.
The 2008 NFL Draft is in the final weekend of April, with Torain considered to be among the top tier of senior running backs eligible for selection according to most analysts.
"It's becoming more common (as a sports injury)," Erickson said. "We will go in, repair it. Obviously his future is involved is this because he'll play after this level. That's the biggest thing."
The injury is similar to those that sidelined former Sun Devils R.J. Oliver and Grayling Love.
"What we do now is kind of, we do what we do," Erickson said. "We go with [Keegan Herring] and [Dimitri Nance] and Jarrell Woods will be back, Preston Jones. We go from here. That's why you have [85 scholarships]. The guys will battle through it."
Herring had Torain's No. 26 written in dark ink on his taped up ankles in Wednesday's practice as a tribute to his fellow teammate.
"Me and Dimitri, we just got to elevate our game a little more now that 26 is out," Herring said. "Me and Dimitri just got to try to do the best job we can.
"I think me and Dimitri are ready. I think everybody is ready. The O-Line has got faith in me or Dimitri. I think we're just ready to play football again. Get rid of that bye week and then get ready for Cal and gotta play hard after that."
Herring and Nance each had long touchdown runs in the second half of the win over Washington last Saturday. Herring's 76 yard scamper was the longest run from scrimmage since J.R. Redmond in 1999. Nance's long scoring run went for 56 yards. Together, the two players combined for 211 yards on 23 carries in the contest.
"It boosted my confidence a little to know that I can make a long run," Nance said. "I knew I could run through the tackles real good but I surprised myself making that long run.
"I came in here and gained that freshman 15 (pounds). After I got used to the system I lost weight and cut down a little bit and just got quicker and faster. I felt that I was moving a little better than what I usually was before."
Both players believe that the offense can continue to perform at a high level, even though the loss of Torain is significant.
"I don't really think it's going to be a lot of pressure," Nance said. "We do have to fill some big shoes but we just have to play like what we've been brought here for and that's play football. That's just what we have to do."
"Everybody is going to say how good can we do without Ryan Torain but I think we're just going to shock the nation that we've got two more backs that's behind him that are at a great enough talent to replace him so we've just go to go out there and play hard nosed confidence," Herring said.