Some bad news out of Kirk Ferentz's Tuesday press availability: Senior right tackle Ike Boettger will miss the rest of the season with an Achilles injury, according to Land of 10's Scott Dochterman.
Ferentz said Ike Boettger is out 4-6 months. He erred on the press conference when he said 4-6 weeks.
— Scott Dochterman (@ScottDochterman) September 12, 2017
Kirk Ferentz initially said he expected Boettger back in 4-6 weeks during a conference call Tuesday morning, but admits he misspoke. Typically, an Achilles tear is a season-ender, and there aren't many "Achilles injuries" that aren't tears. That was later confirmed to be the case.
This isn't Boettger's first Achilles problem: He missed seven games of the 2015 season due to the same injury, before returning in limited action during the Rose Bowl. Boettger returned stronger than ever in 2016, and if this injury is bad enough to keep him out the rest of this campaign, he could theoretically return for another year next season. Ferentz was non-committal on the possibility of a medical redshirt:
KF said that by the book Ike Boettger probably not eligible for medical hardship year but didn't rule it out.
— Rob Howe (@RobHoweHN) September 12, 2017
In the short term, Iowa will shuffle the offensive line against North Texas. If the depth chart is correct, senior guard Sean Welsh will move to right tackle, left guard Keegan Render will move to right guard, and junior Ross Reynolds will slot into the lineup at left guard. Presumably, once Boone Myers returns from his injury (a high ankle sprain, reportedly), he will take a tackle spot opposite Alaric Jackson and allow Welsh and Render to move back to their original positions. Ferentz said he also expects true freshman Tristan Wirfs to play this season, in light of Boettger's injury.
In the long term, we have to come to grips with the strong possibility this is the end of Boettger's career at Iowa. He was a key member of one of the greatest teams in the history of the program and a crucial part of the 2016 offensive line, a unit high in the ranking of best offensive lines at Iowa. If he can't return, Ike should be a possible draft pick in April; obviously two Achilles tears are going to weigh on the minds of general managers, but he's still a right tackle from Iowa. We wish him the best, whether he plays football again or not.