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Mysterious Morris Malady Mystifies [UPDATED]

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There's a mystery afoot. Or is it ahoof?

David Purdy

Solon Beef Days, that cherished summer tradition like no other, took place this past weekend and Iowa fandom was abuzz: something had happened to starting Iowa MLB James Morris. "Something" of a medical nature. Rumors spread of an emergency surgery. Gasp! Had the Hay Bale Toss, that longtime scourge of Iowa football, struck again? (RIP, Drew Tate's senior season.) Had the source of the festival's famed beef, inspired by their Spanish brethren (NSFW-ish) and the dismissive attitude of certain Iowa-affiliated tastemakers toward the football aptitude of their equine cousins, finally cast off their shackles and lashed out at their oppressors? Uncertainty reigned.

By Sunday the chatter had reached a point where Morris' father, Iowa equipment manager Greg Morris, felt the need to step in and clarify the situation... sort of:

Greg Morris confirmed on Sunday afternoon that his son, James, was fine.

"He is by no means incapacitated," Greg Morris said. "He’s fine. Come Aug. 31, he’ll be there with everybody else."

Said clarification was straight out of the Kirk Ferentz Handbook of Non-Communication, but still: at least we knew he wasn't incapacitated. So he (probably) hadn't been trampled beneath the angry hooves of a bovine uprising. Plus, neither the Iowa City Press-Citizen nor the Cedar Rapids Gazette had mentioned a bovine uprising in their accounting of the weekend's news and that seems like something they probably would have noted. Maybe.

But what had happened to Morris? Had he in fact required some sort of emergency surgical procedure? How serious was his ailment? Would he miss any of the upcoming practices? Would he miss any games this fall? Mas Casa shed a little more light on the matter:

Morehouse's information corroborated reports from a few MESSAGE BOARD SOURCEZ, so it would seem that a bout of appendicitis is what was eating James Morris and setting this interwebs mystery in motion. The recovery time for Morris (and for Lomax, an unexpected addition to this particular mystery and the front-runner for the not-so-coveted Jordan Bernstine Memorial Award for Injury Misfortune) is dependent on the state of his appendix at the time of the appendectomy: if the appendix had ruptured and spread infection prior to the operation, he's likely starting at a long, unpleasant recovery process. On the other hand, if the doctors were able to remove the appendix before it ruptured, he's unlikely to miss too much time at all. Appendectomies of that nature are remarkably non-invasive and easy to bounce back from.

Given that Greg Morris indicated that his son still intended to travel to Chicago for Big Ten Media Days this week, it seems likely that his particular appendectomy was of the easier variety and that he should be good to go for most of the fall training camp and the season itself. Still, Morris (if he's there) or Ferentz should be able to clear up some of the uncertainty about these particular injuries during Media Days. Hopefully both Morris and Lomax will be fine for training camp and the season -- both are projected starters for an Iowa defense that will probably need all the help it can get. We'll update with more information as it comes available.

7/24 UPDATE:

Indeed, he certainly doesn't look "incapacitated"...

and

A-ha. Mystery resolved (and "appendicitis issues" is such a Ferentz turn of phrase), concern allayed. Whew.