According to rumors out of Iowa City, sophomore Hawkeye running back Jewel Hampton may be contemplating knee surgery that would cause him to redshirt for the 2009 season.
Hampton suffered a knee strain earlier in the summer and aggravated the injury a couple weeks ago. He hasn't returned to practice since the latest setback, and speculation is building that he may not be available for the first game and might even miss the whole season.
Attempts to contact the Iowa athletic department to verify Hampton's status have not been immediately returned.
For a Top-25 team already trying to figure out how to replace Shonn Greene in the backfield, the uncertainty of Hampton's health throws a kink into a very promising season.
Hampton averaged over five yards a carry in his freshman season, amassing almost 500 yards on the ground. The Indianapolis native's seven rushing touchdowns set a school record for freshmen, and he also contributed in the kick return game.
With Iowa's first game just over a week away, expect the situation to be clarified one way or another in the next few days. According to the Press-Citizen's account of a recent radio interview with Coach Kirk Ferentz, the Hawks had been hopeful Hampton could return to practice this week.
If the sophomore standout is still unable to go by week's end, the redshirt option would seem to become more viable with each day Hampton's knee doesn't improve.
This article is also featured on FirstandBigTen.com, a Bleacher Report blog dedicated to Big Ten football.
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