Virginia’s defense hit hard by injuries, Snowden may be finished

By Jerry Ratcliffe

charles snowden

Charles Snowden leaves the field on crutches. Photo courtesy Atlantic Coast Conference (Erin Edgerton/Daily Progress).

Bronco Mendenhall said he was happy to see so many smiles around the locker room after Virginia’s 55-15 win over Abilene Christian on Saturday night, but there was also a downside to the Cavaliers victory.

Three players, all on the defensive side of the ball, went down with injuries during the course of the game and didn’t come back. The highest profile injury came early in the first quarter when senior outside linebacker Charles Snowden suffered what has speculated to have been a potential season-ending injury.

Also, senior transfer free safety D’Angelo Amos and backup freshman defensive end Nusi Malani suffered injuries, and like Snowden, did not return to the game.

Snowden’s appeared to be the most serious and the most impactful. He is a team leader both on and off the field and a key figure on the Cavaliers defense.

Mendenhall said after the game he didn’t feel comfortable addressing the status of all three injuries, particularly Snowden’s, but would elaborate more in his weekly press conference on Monday.

Snowden went down during Abilene’s first offensive possession, immediately held his right leg. His frustration was obvious as he laid sprawling and slammed his helmet to the turf. He was helped off the field and immediately was taken to the locker room. Snowden emerged on crutches and was wearing a cast from his right knee to his foot as teammates came over to comfort him.

“It stinks to have that happen, any injury” said UVA quarterback Brennan Armstrong. “To see Charles and guys getting dinged up, it seemed like it kept happening and happening.”

Snowden had been a driving force for the defense this season, particularly during Virginia’s three-game winning streak.

“It’s the highest level of concern when we’re thin already,” Mendenhall said. “That added to it and it was really unfortunate. It’s always hard to see players get hurt. I hate that part of the business, especially the players that I have such good relationships with and just admire. So, yeah, it’s an issue.”

The Cavaliers lost sixth-year starting defensive end Richard Burney a few weeks ago due to an undisclosed medical condition. Earlier this week, starting nose tackle Jowon Briggs stunned the program when he told Mendenhall that he was leaving the team and entering the transfer portal.

Virginia’s defense was already without defensive backs Joey Blount and Brenton Nelson, who were both injured in the Wake Forest game on Oct. 17.

The Cavaliers are almost redefining the “next man up” mentality.

“We just have to keep playing hard, playing Virginia defense,” said linebacker Nick Jackson. “We have our standard and have to abide by our standards. We have to keep playing for our brothers.”

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