No, it's not good at all. But at least it's official: Jewel Hampton is out for 2009 and will almost certainly redshirt.
Such news was confirmed at Kirk Ferentz's press conference this afternoon, and we're working on getting a good link on a transcript (either full or sensibly trimmed) for you folks. In the meantime, there's Hawkeye Nation's liveblog (the presser itself starts at 12:38) for your perusal.
Hampton evidently injured the knee on July 4, when the rumors started floating, but he was making his way back and even practicing before it became evident that he would need surgery to actually fix the problem. For whatever reason, Ferentz isn't specifying what's injured, just that surgery is necessary. Not really sure what Ferentz is trying to protect by staying vague, unless he doesn't know the exact injury (which, to be perfectly honest, shouldn't matter to him as much as the fact that he's out). Hampton should be out of commission for next spring's practice as well, but right now he's expected to return at full speed for 2010.
As for Jeff Brinson stepping in? Yes, well, about that... no. He's still recovering from some Fujiya & Miyagi style ankle injuries, and he's out for the week. That means PAKI BOMB IS A GO. Batten down the hatches.
As far as other "highlights":
Adam Robinson has quietly improved and looked nice in all areas, meaning he's #2 on the depth chart. We're a little skeptical about this, but he didn't look terrible at the open practice.
- As expected, the Irish Car Bomb is done after back surgery. Godspeed.
- Ferentz wants the Bryan Bulaga-to-the-NFL talk to wait until after the season. In other words, barring injuries, he's as likely to come back as Norm Parker's two toes.
- Despite the team's best efforts, they couldn't hide the fact that true freshmen will actually play next week; Brandon Wegher, Keenan Davis, and Micah Hyde are expected to see significant time. No real surprises there.
- Colin Sandeman may or may not play this week.
- DJK has been dinged up and has missed three complete days of practice, which might be part of the reason why he's not starting per the 2-deeps.
- Oh, and Paki O'Meara is also returning kicks as of today even with his starting role confirmed. Interesting.
Well, today had to come sooner or later, we guess. No more questions about Hampton until next season; now it's Brinson's ankle and whether he can work his way ahead of O'Meara and Robinson. If he can't, um, that's probably not a good sign, right?
Also... what does this do to your expectations for this Saturday?