The Oklahoma Sooners' national title aspirations took a big blow Tuesday morning when the school released a statement saying that starting weak-side linebacker Travis Lewis broke a bone in his left foot during Monday's practice and is expected to miss eight weeks.
No surgery will be required, but immobilization and rest will be the main methods of recovery.
The senior from San Antonio has been the Sooners' leading tackler the past three season and has accumulated 362 tackles during his career.
Sophomore Corey Nelson, whom head coach Bob Stoops called the most impressive player during spring practice, will move into the weak-side linebacker position while Lewis is out.
Lewis is one of the Sooners' most vocal leaders and his presence will be sorely missed by a linebacking corps still recovering from the offseason death of Austin Box back in May.
"We're disappointed for Travis," head coach Bob Stoops said. "He has worked very hard and I know he'll want to get back as quickly as possible. We'll adapt in the meantime. We've recruited very well and have some excellent athletes in those positions. I'm confident that those players will perform well."
Lewis could return in time for the Red River Shootout against Texas, but he will miss key games: on the road at Florida State on Sept. 17 and at home against Missouri the following week.
Lewis bypassed the 2011 NFL draft to return to school for his senior season along with wide receiver Ryan Broyles.