Foston out, Walker back in backfield battle; OL Leech likely to miss opener

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Ronnie Walker Jr. (Photo: UVA Athletics)

Tony Elliott presented a somewhat bittersweet injury report to media after Monday’s practice, including welcoming back one promising running back and likely losing another for the season.

Ronnie Walker Jr., who enjoyed a good spring before suffering a leg injury, finally made it back to the team on Monday and will be cleared for Virginia’s opener against Richmond on Sept. 3, but may not play.

Meanwhile, sophomore running back Amaad Foston (Milledgeville, Ga.) suffered a torn ACL in practice last week and has already undergone surgery and is likely lost for the season.

“It sucks for Foston,” Elliott said. “I saw him earlier today. He’s doing well.”

Meanwhile, Elliott said wide receiver Malachi Fields, who suffered a foot injury earlier in camp, may possibly rejoin the team late in the season if at all this year.

As far as Walker, Elliott believed the former Indiana transfer was ahead of the other UVA running backs candidates before his injury.

“He may be ready game week or toward the end of game week for Richmond, but he may not be able to play (in the game),” Elliott said.

Walker will battle Mike Hollins, fifth-year Perris Jones, Miami transfer Cody Brown and freshman Xavier Brown for playing time at running back. Elliott said last week that if he had to field a team that day, he would start Jones at the running back spot.

Another player of concern was tackle Jonathan Leech, who was expected to start until showing up with a cast on his left arm to practice. Elliott said that Leech should return but could miss the opener against the Spiders, as if the offensive line needed any more problems. The O-Line has been plagued with nagging injuries or illness throughout training camp.

“We thought that [Leech’s injury] was going to be a long-term situation, but after they did all of the tests and the MRIs and the scans, [team doctors] felt like the best thing to do was put a pin in it. Hopefully, it’ll be a couple of weeks. I don’t think it will linger all season.”