Nov. 9, 2009
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State redshirt junior quarterback Christian Ponder, who leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing and total offense, will miss the remainder of the season with a right shoulder injury that will require surgery.
“Christian suffered a grade-3, right shoulder AC (acromioclavicular) separation,” FSU director of sports medicine Randy Oravetz said. “It has been determined that this is a season-ending injury and surgery will be performed in the next few weeks.”
The course of action was determined after Ponder was examined Monday by team physicians and specialists with the Tallahassee Orthopedic Center.
“Our biggest loss this weekend was losing Christian Ponder right there at the end of the game when he made a tackle on the sideline,” FSU coach Bobby Bowden said. “It shows his competitiveness, but he’s out for the year now.”
Ponder was injured while making a fourth quarter tackle of Clemson safety DeAndre McDaniel, following an interception.
“I felt it pop,” Ponder said. “I didn’t know it was going to be that serious. It [the tackle] was out of frustration. I let that get the best of me. …
“I’m definitely upset. We had three games left – hopefully four. There were still goals we could accomplish. I wish I could be out there.”
Redshirt freshman EJ Manuel will make his first career start Saturday at Wake Forest.
“It’s a shame, but it’s part of ball,” FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher said. “You always know you’re one play away from being in there.”
Fisher said Ponder will be back to full strength following surgery and rehabilitation, but is confident that Manuel can lead the Seminoles through the balance of the season, in part because he shares many of the same attributes as the player he will replace.
“[Christian] embodies what you preach as a coach – being on time, work hard, have the right principles, go to school, carry yourself the right way,” Fisher said. “All the things you preach to your players all of the time.”
Ponder was in the midst of one of the finest statistical seasons for a Florida State quarterback. He leads the Atlantic Coast Conference in passing yardage (301.9 ypg) and total offense (321.8 ypg), and also ranks among the top 10 leaders nationally in four categories. His performance had earned him semifinalist honors for the Maxwell Award, presented to college football’s player of the year, and he was also in contention for the Manning Award and the Wuerffel Trophy.
Ponder, who was drawing the attention of NFL scouts for his play on the field, said the injury will most likely lead to his return to the program next season.