The Alabama Crimson Tide's Heisman-winning tailback Mark Ingram went down with a knee injury Monday.
Ingram is out indefinitely and certainly won't play in 'Bama's season opener against San Jose State.
Nick Saban said that Ingram would be back in a "relatively short time."
How should Alabama deal with the temporary loss of Ingram? Will it have an effect on the Tide's success?
Fortunately, 'Bama has a loaded backfield, with touted sophomore Trent Richardson now leading the way. Behind him is pile-driver Eddie Lacy, who has generated a lot of hype from the practice field. Demetrius Goode also stands ready to carry the ball, and he more than proved himself with impressive performances in backup duty.
The Alabama offense shouldn't be thrown off-balance by the loss of Ingram or forced to throw the ball more than needed, with Richardson and Lacy capable of starting on nearly every other SEC team.
The big question that remains is: Can Alabama still win a national championship without Ingram?
Well, it would be ridiculous to say that loss of a Heisman winner wouldn't at all affect a team, but with Alabama, it won't hurt as much as it would most schools.
The Tide loses a key offensive component, at least for the first few games. Let's say Ingram misses the first three games of the year. That means he would be out against San Jose State, Penn State and Duke.
Penn State is obviously the biggest game of the trio, so Ingram would be most missed in that game. But again, Richardson helps to ease the pain. The fourth game of the year is against Arkansas, which is a fairly big game, so the Tide would like to have Ingram back by then.
So, the temporary loss of Ingram shouldn't affect Alabama's national championship hopes very much, as long as he returns by at least the Arkansas game.