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November 9, 2009

Ponder will need surgery, season over

When it was revealed on Saturday night that Christian Ponder had separated his throwing shoulder, the question became just how long the Seminoles' signal-caller would have to sit out.

At Monday's weekly luncheon, head coach Bobby Bowden revealed that Ponder would undergo surgery in approximately two weeks. Also, he indicated that his starting quarterback would not play for the remainder of the 2009 season.

During the weekly coordinator press conference, offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher confirmed that surgery would be required to fix Ponder's separated shoulder.

"He separated his shoulder," Fisher said. "He will probably have a little season-ending surgery. He will be out a couple of months. He hurt it on the tackle at the end of the game. It's a shame. "

Anytime a quarterback injures his throwing shoulder and requires surgery, there is cause for concern about his future. Fortunately for Ponder and the Seminoles, it looks like he will be ready to go by spring practice.

"There is no rotator cuff, there is no labrum," Fisher said. "It's just what came out. They will just tighten it down. It's not anything that is too big to come back from or anything of that nature."

According to both Fisher and Ponder, his injury is similar to what Oklahoma's star quarterback Sam Bradford suffered this season against Brigham Young in the season opener. But unlike when Bradford he first injured his shoulder, Ponder will undergo surgery.

With Ponder's season officially over, his focus will turn to preparing for 2010. Fisher said he's optimistic that Ponder will be back under center by this spring.

"Yes," Fisher said of whether or not Ponder will be back for spring practice. "That is what they told me. It takes about two to three months generally."

Considering the fantastic season he was having, there was speculation that Ponder might entertain the NFL draft next spring. And for good reason. Over the course of this season, the junior quarterback had thrown for over 2,700 yards and 14 touchdowns.

Given the nature of his injury, it a near certainty that Ponder will be back for his senior season.

"I think things have changed now," Ponder said. "We'll see toward the end of the season. I most likely will be back. I still have a lot to accomplish here."

Regardless of his future as a pro quarterback, because of his competitive nature Ponder was openly disappointed and frustrated that his season has come to an end.

"I'm definitely upset," he said. "I am definitely frustrated. I wish I could be out there."

So does his position coach.

At the weekly press conference, Fisher talked at length about just what kind of player and how good of a season he was having.

"He has played as well as anyone I have ever had with the workload he had on his back," Fisher raved. "With the checks, sliding protections, hot routes, blitzes - as anybody I've had. It really was a phenomenal year.

"That's why I hate it for him. He was playing so well. When he was in the game, we always had a chance to win. He is a tremendous football player.

"He embodies what you teach as a coach."


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