Iowa cruised to a 38-14 win over Miami (OH) in their season opener on Saturday night, but there was one clear negative to the evening: the injury sustained by Alaric Jackson. Jackson, a multi-year starter and preseason all-conference selection at left tackle, was injured early in the game when his knee appeared to be rolled up on and he was forced out of action. He was seen on crutches later in the game and the prognosis for his injury did not look good.
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz provided an update on Jackson's status on Sunday and the news was a little better than initially feared:
"They did tests (Sunday) and were hopeful it wouldn't be anything overly serious," Ferentz said. "Every injury is serious, but the good news is, it doesn't look like it will necessitate any kind of surgery. I think we're looking at a matter of weeks right now, but it could have been a lot worse."
Given how bad the injury looked when it happened on Saturday night, the fact that Jackson apparently won't need surgery to repair any damage is very welcome. Surgery almost certainly would have ended Jackson's season. While Jackson is still expected to miss "a matter of weeks" as Ferentz said, there's at least a possibility of him returning before the end of the season, which is positive.
That said, Jackson is certainly going to be out of commission for a bit. In his absence, senior Levi Paulsen, redshirt freshman Kyler Schott, and sophomore Mark Kallenberger are going to see more action. When Jackson went down on Saturday, Wirfs switched from right to left tackle, Paulsen moved to right tackle, and Schott took over for Paulsen at right guard. Mark Kallenberger, the eventual successor to Jackson (or Wirfs) down the road, also saw some time in Saturday's game and should get further opportunities while Jackson is out.
Injuries are always bad news, especially in a sport where you only 12-13 times a year to perform. But we're grateful that Jackson's injury doesn't appear to be as significant as feared and his 2019 season might not be already over. We wish him a fully and speedy recovery.