COLUMBIA, Mo. • Morale boost that it might have been for Mizzou to beat Texas 17-5 on Saturday, there was a subdued mood from the team Monday in the wake of the wretched injury suffered by sophomore tailback Henry Josey against the Longhorns.
Josey, the fifth-leading rusher in the nation, is out for the season and even questionable for 2012 after suffering a torn left patellar tendon, torn ACL and torn MCL.
"When he's ready, whenever that is, we'll be excited about having him back," MU coach Gary Pinkel said.
Between what he's produced for the team and the happy aura he is known for, the loss seemed almost piercing to some.
"I just want to cry for him. … I feel like it happened to me," receiver T.J. Moe said. "He's so much fun to play with, and not just because he's good. He just loves life. … Just the way he is: Why Henry?"
Tailback De'Vion Moore, who was the starter last season but has played sparingly as Josey rose this year, called Josey his "brother." "It was a crushing blow, especially to me, being an older guy, seeing all the things that he did to develop and become the type of running back that he became," Moore said. "It hurt."
Even with Josey still recovering from surgery, players have been swarming his room at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute just to be near him.
Linebacker Will Ebner, injured and out for the season himself, spent the night in Josey's room Sunday. Josey woke up Monday with 100 text messages. Quarterback James Franklin is working up his own remedy.
"I'm going to put together kind of like a care, get-well-basket kind of thing," said Franklin, who said he will ask teammates and people he knows from church to write cards and letters and would try to add gifts, too. "I do know that he likes McDonald's, so I'll probably get him some McDonald's."
For encouragement, Pinkel said he would point Josey to recent Mizzou examples of players returning and thriving after devastating knee injuries, including Jeremy Maclin and Danario Alexander.
Penn State reverberates
Asked about the ramifications of the Penn State scandal in coaching circles, Pinkel said: "It's rocked everybody. The victims are obviously the biggest concern, and the reflection that has on coaches. That stuff exists, and it's always existed in our society. Has and always will. …
"I think if there's anything that can come from this, (it's) can we come up with ways to help kids recognize and to be able to stand up and be able to go and tell an adult, 'Somebody touched me wrong, or did something wrong to me.' … Collectively, if we do that … we could maybe help a lot of other young men and young women."
Regarding his thoughts on why more wasn't done by those in a position to do so at Penn State, he said, "Without question, I think we're all asking the same thing: Why would somebody not a put a stop to this (that could have), and I don't know."
Since beating Oklahoma in Norman on Oct. 22, Texas Tech, MU's opponent Saturday at Faurot Field, has lost its last three games by an aggregate score of 159-33. "You prepare for how they played against Oklahoma," Moe said, "and you hope for how they played against Iowa State (a 41-7 loss)."