The highest-rated prospect of Missouri's 2010 recruiting class may not see a football field again until he arrives in Columbia next season.
Nick Demien, an offensive lineman from Timberland High School, underwent surgery on his right knee on Aug. 28 and may be sidelined for the remainder of his senior season, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Monday.
The 6'6", 295-pound Demien was injured while playing in a jamboree on Aug. 21. And on the same day his teammates opened up the 2009 season with a 28-0 win, Demien was in Columbia having torn cartilage in his knee repaired.
For those confused, a jamboree is an abbreviated scrimmage involving a small number of high school teams.
Demien's coach, Craig Collins, expressed uncertainty regarding his star lineman's immediate future.
“It’s possible he could return this season, but it’s also possible that he won’t play again this season,” Collins said. “A lot of different things will factor in, obviously, but in the end, it’ll be a decision that Nick and his doctors will have to make.”
Rated by most sites as the top player in the state and the seventh-best offensive lineman in the nation, Demien put an end to his recruiting hoopla when he pledged a verbal commitment to Missouri last month, instantly becoming the featured member of head coach Gary Pinkel's upcoming class.
He chose the Tigers over several high-profile programs, including Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, Wisconsin, Florida State, and UCLA.
Regardless of how long Demien is forced to sit out, his knee injury does not figure to adversely affect his future with Missouri, which could begin as soon as January—assuming he joins the growing number of prep players who complete high school in three and a half years and join their collegiate teams in time for spring practice.