Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, the team’s leading rusher, will miss the rest of the season because of a torn ACL suffered in Saturday’s loss to Oklahoma, coach Mike Sherman said today.
Michael, a junior who has rushed for 899 yards this season, also missed the Aggies’ final five games of the 2010 season because of a broken leg.
Michael’s departure means that Cyrus Gray (733 yards, 4.6 per carry) moves back to the top of the team’s depth chart and will handle the brunt of the carries Saturday when A&M (5-4, 3-3 in Big 12) meets No. 14 Kansas State (7-2, 4-2) in Manhattan, Kan.
Gray, a senior who rushed for a team-high 1,133 yards last season, has divided carries this season with Michael. Gray finished last season with seven consecutive 100-yard rushing performances, the last five after Michael was injured.
Sherman said Ben Malena (8 carries, 52 yards), a sophomore from Cedar Hill, will be Gray’s primary backup in A&M’s remaining games. If a third running back is needed, Sherman left open the possibility of using Will Randolph, a speedy freshman who has yet to play this season and could be redshirted.
Michael said last month that he planned to return for his senior season rather than enter the 2012 NFL Draft. The injury and impending surgery likes assures that he will stick to that plan and return to A&M next season.
_ Jimmy Burch