PULLMAN – After a collision that sent him to the locker room with an apparent upper-body injury last week against New Mexico State, Washington State linebacker Jahad Woods returned to the starting lineup and was probably the best defensive player on the field for the Cougars in Saturday’s nonconference matchup with Northern Colorado.
Woods left last week’s game in the third quarter and did not return after athletic trainers spent time working on his shoulder. The preseason All-Pac-12 linebacker went to the locker room after totaling six tackles and one pass breakup, but did not return for the Cougars.
Whatever was nagging Woods last week didn’t seem to bother the junior on Saturday. He had a game-high 10 tackles – just one shy of a career high – and forced a fumble in the first half.
But WSU suffered another injury at the inside linebacker position against Northern Colorado. Dillon Sherman, the No. 1 backup for both the “Mike” and “Will” linebacker spots, left the game in the first half and did not return. Per his policy, WSU coach Mike Leach refrains from commenting on injuries.
If Sherman doesn’t play next week against Houston, the Cougars could be without two rotational players at inside linebacker. Dominick Silvels, who flipped from the “Rush” position this fall, did not play in the season opener and was not on the home sideline Saturday for the second straight game.
Afterward, Leach told The Spokesman-Review that Silvels is attending to “personal issues” but would not disclose what those issues were. Asked if the junior would be able to return in to play at Reliant Stadium on Friday, the coach said, “I think he will be, but I’m not sure. I don’t know yet.”
Either way, there’s a chance the Cougars will be hamstrung at the position for their next game.
Hank Pladson and Travion Brown would presumably the backups at “Mike” and “Will” without Sherman and Silvels in the fold. Pladson, a walk-on, had an interception in the season opener and Brown, a true freshman who was the highest-touted member of WSU’s last signing class, had eight tackles.
“Next-man-up mentality,” linebacker Justus Rogers said. “Hank stepped up last week and he got the interception and did a great job. Then we sort all those things out after the game, but when we’re in the game we’ve kind of got to put that to the side and focus on finishing the game.”
“Y” receiver Jamire Calvin also missed his second straight game with a lower-body injury that’s held the junior out since spring camp. Brandon Arconado and Kassidy Woods have taken Calvin’s place at the slot receiver position.
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