If Oregon wide receiver Bralon Addison has indeed suffered a torn ACL, as reported by Andrew Greif of The Oregonian, the Ducks have lost one of their best returning playmakers.
Although it's unlikely Oregon's coaching staff will talk extensively (or at all) about Addison's reported injury, details don't sound promising. Erik Elken of KEZI tweeted that Addison fell to the turf after making a cut—with no contact. Non-contact injuries like those can be severe.
On Thursday, Addison tweeted, "Life is tough man."
When Addison is able to return this year—if he's able to return—remains to be seen. Should he need it, Addison does have a redshirt available that would give him two more years of eligibility beginning in 2015.
In the meantime, Oregon loses one of its more explosive and experienced players on offense.
Addison started 11 games in 2013 with 61 receptions for 890 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had a pair of punt returns for touchdowns. With the departure of receiver Josh Huff and now the reported injury to Addison, the Ducks are down their top two receivers from last year.
Additionally, running back De'Anthony Thomas declared for the NFL draft. Thomas, though hampered by his own injuries last season, was still one of the most dangerous offensive weapons in the country.
For an offense that's usually loaded with talent, Oregon is now without some top-tier skill receivers.
Quarterback and preseason Heisman contender Marcus Mariota will be the nucleus of a group with plenty of newer faces there. It's possible that tight ends and running backs become an even bigger part of the passing game as a result.
Oregon's wide receiver group is talented to be sure, but it isn't the most experienced beyond senior Keanon Lowe—and he had 18 receptions for 233 yards and three touchdowns in 2013. Chance Allen, B.J. Kelley and Dwayne Stanford will highlight the Ducks' new-look receiving unit.
In addition to production, the absence of Addison means Oregon loses a leader on the field as well.
“We’ve got guys like Keanon, who’s a senior, and after him it’s me as the next oldest guy,” Addison previously told Ryan Thorburn of The Register-Guard. “I really have to step up and be a leader this year, more vocal than I’ve ever been. That’s going to be a big challenge for me.”
“I’ve noticed he’s taken his game up to the next level,” said Oregon wide receivers coach Matt Lubick. “He knows that we need to count on him even a little bit more.”
Oregon, like all other programs, has a philosophy of "next man up." Unlike most programs, though, Oregon has actually been able to execute that motto with little to no drop-off year after year.
With questions about whether head coach Mark Helfrich can get the Ducks back to the Pac-12 Championship Game, that "next man up" philosophy will be tested in 2014.
Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football at Bleacher Report. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand.