Alabama coach Nick Saban says safety Vinnie Sunseri out for 2013 season
by Marq_Burnett
 Crimson Tide Extra
Oct 21, 2013 | 677 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
TUSCALOOSA -- Alabama safety Vinnie Sunseri will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair a torn knee ligament and will miss the remainder of the 2013 season, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said. An MRI on Sunday revealed the extent of the damage to Sunseri’s left knee.

Saban declined to discuss the details of Sunseri’s injury.

“He needs surgery. He has ligament damage,” Saban said. “We usually don’t give a medical report. He needs surgery and he’s out for the year. Call Doc.”

Sunseri went down with the injury on kickoff coverage in the first quarter of the Tide’s 52-0 victory over Arkansas on Saturday. He walked off the field with little assistance and laid briefly on the training table before heading to the locker room. 

He did not return to the game, but returned to the sideline in street clothes without crutches and received hugs from his teammates. Following the game, Saban said that “it could be serious” when discussing Sunseri’s injury.

Through seven games, Sunseri is seventh on the team with 20 total tackles including a tackle for loss. He had two interceptions, both of which he returned for touchdowns. 

“Vinnie’s done a great job for us. He’s an outstanding player and really good person, good leader,” Saban said during his Monday news conference. “Can’t say enough about the job he’s done throughout this year and his career. Always hate it when guys get injuries. It’s a tough part of the game.”

With Sunseri out, the Tide is left shuffling at multiple positions. Sophomore Landon Collins is likely to start at strong safety in place of Sunseri with Jarrick Williams and Geno Smith expected to see time as well.

“We have to step it up,” Collins said. “He was a big loss for our defense now and the ... leadership needs to step up and the players need to step up that are taking his place.”

But the biggest thing the Tide loses with Sunseri out is his leadership. He was one of the veteran leaders in the secondary and for the entire team. Sunseri was an extension of Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and helped make the secondary calls.

“He’s got to be the same guy. He’s got to be a leader for us,” Tide quarterback AJ McCarron said. “If he starts to fall off, the other leaders will tell him. He’s got to be there for us mentally and to teach these young guys how to do the right thing, what to do at all times [so that] it puts us in a good situation at the end of the day to win a ballgame still. He’s definitely going to have to be there for us and these younger guys as we go throughout the season.”
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