UI’s Keo makes tough choice to shut down

Chipped bone forces his hand

MOSCOW, Idaho – It was his last summer before college and Shiloh Keo faced a dilemma. He had accepted an invitation to take part in a high school all-star football game, but he had yet to fully recover from a broken ankle.

On one hand, Keo really wanted to showcase his talent. Yet he also understood his parents, who told him not to play. He was bound for Idaho shortly after the game, they reminded him, so he needed the time to heal.

“I ended up playing and I had a great game,” Keo said. “My dad always told me, ‘You’ve made some stupid decisions.’ ”

Keo reflected on that choice last week when a similar issue presented itself. This time, however, the consequences were much weightier.

Idaho coaches and doctors gave the second-team all-WAC safety from 2007 an ultimatum: He could continue playing with a chipped bone in his shoulder and risk further problems, or he could cut his season short and most likely qualify for another year of eligibility.

Keo went with option B, but it was an agonizing decision.

“I really need to have my body at 100 percent at all times,” the Vandals’ defensive captain said. “So I need to make a smart decision. It may not be my favorite, but it’s got to be a smart one.”

After sustaining the injury in the first quarter of the Utah State game three weeks ago, the junior from Everett will have surgery a week from today in Pullman. It should take around six to eight months to recover.

Keo had returned to practice last week in non-contact drills before team doctors directed him to have another MRI. The test showed more damage than was previously thought in his right shoulder.

Coach Robb Akey and team doctors met with Keo to discuss his options, knowing that it was up to him to decide.

“I thought he showed maturity in doing the right thing,” Akey said. “He should be able to get the year back.”

If Keo’s injury had happened a week later, he wouldn’t qualify for a medical redshirt. As it stands, he should be able to play in 2009 and 2010 if the NCAA grants his request.

He’s an outside man

On top of Keo’s health concerns, the Vandals lost inside linebacker Tre’Shawn Robinson for the year to a knee injury last week.

Robinson’s emergence before getting hurt was especially beneficial to Jonathan Faraimo.

Faraimo had a tough time playing inside linebacker for the first part of the season after playing on the outside last season. Coaches moved him back last week to his more natural position and he pocketed 13 tackles.

“I believe my struggles were when I was inside,” Faraimo said. “Everything was so close and tight that I really couldn’t see. My eyes would go everywhere.”

Around the conference

His team has won four games, but Fresno State coach Pat Hill figures the Bulldogs have plenty of room to improve. Last week, FSU labored to put the Vandals away before winning 45-32. “I still don’t think we’ve hit full stride,” Hill told the Fresno Bee. … In what’s become a common theme for the WAC, this week’s top game isn’t happening Saturday. No. 15 Boise State hosts Hawaii, 2-1 in WAC play, tonight at 5 on ESPN. BSU was won 35 of its last 36 home games.

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