The Sports Illustrated cover jinx has felled an athlete or two in its time.
The Madden video game has caused similar problems for its featured stars.
But neither has had as wide-ranging an injury effect as simply being a Purdue Boilermaker.
With the football program already reeling after ACL injuries to star running back Ralph Bolden and All-American wide receiver candidate Keith Smith in this calendar year alone, quarterback Robert Marve was carted out of Ross-Ade Stadium with a knee injury of his own this afternoon.
ESPN Radio 1450 in Lafayette is reporting that the Boilermakers' leader has in fact suffered a torn ACL, which would almost certainly mean a premature end to his 2010 season. Marve already tore that same ligament shortly after announcing he would transfer to Purdue in the spring of 2009.
While Purdue will use its upcoming bye week to try and find some offensive answers, the 2-2 Boilers don't seem to have much of a chance to compete in the Big Ten without their top quarterback, top running back, or top wide receiver.
Redshirt freshman Rob Henry (who played the majority of the last two games) should get the starting nod when Purdue travels to Northwestern on October 9: Henry is a poor man's Tim Tebow in that he wears number 15 and can rip off chunks of gain on the ground more like a fullback than a quarterback, but his passing accuracy has a ways to go, to put it kindly.
Offensive coordinator Gary Nord will have his work cut out for him, although Nord's already pulled a few magic tricks out of his hat.
The veteran assistant has somehow coaxed back-to-back 200-yard rushing performances out of a team that's missing Bolden, projected backup Al-Terek McBurse, and also hasn't had Dan Dierking or Keith Carlos (the third and fourth tailback options) 100% healthy for the past couple of games.
If this Purdue team makes a bowl game with so many offensive weapons lost, it will be an impressive feat. A more realistic goal: simply winning another game or two with the ever-difficult conference slate looming.
Oh, and if every Boilermaker is wearing two knee braces the next time the Old Gold and Black take the field, don't be surprised.
Because after what's happened to Bolden, Smith, and Marve (plus basketball standout Robbie Hummel) in the last eight months alone, the university long known as the "Cradle of Quarterbacks" has earned a new nickname:
The Cradle of Knee Injuries.
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