Defensive Coordinator Pete Rekstis and the Flashes defense will be without pass-specialist Monte Simmons for at least the next month.
Simmons is expected to return in time to play for the Wagon Wheel, Oct. 9, against Akron.
David Carducci of the Record-Courier broke the story.
Kent State will be forced to play without Monte Simmons for at least the next month.
The Golden Flashes’ pass-rush specialist had successful surgery on Friday to repair a fractured left fibula suffered in Thursday night’s season-opening win over Murray State.
“The good news is the doctors said it is a non-weight-bearing bone, and there was no other damage,” said KSU head coach Doug Martin. “They think Monte will be back at full speed and ready to play against Akron.”
Kent State hosts Akron for Homecoming on Oct. 9. If Simmons returns to face the Zips, he would only miss one Mid-American Conference game — the Oct. 2 league opener at Miami University. He will also miss non-conference games at Boston College next week and at Penn State on Sept. 18.
Fortunately for Simmons, doctors found no damage other than the broken bone during Friday’s surgery. Torn ligaments are typical in injuries like the one he suffered. Ligament tears could have severely weakened Simmons’ left ankle.
“The fact that there was no ligament damage is what will speed up his recovery,” said Martin. “It’s pretty fortunate, because he got rolled-up on pretty good on that play.”
Simmons was injured in the third quarter of Thursday’s 41-10 KSU win. After being helped from the turf, he hopped to the sideline on his right foot.
With 16 career sacks at the start of the season, Simmons ranked third in KSU’s all-time record book. Two more sacks on Thursday pulled the senior to within seven of Justin Parrish’s school record. In all, Simmons recorded 21/2 tackles for losses against Murray State, accounting for 20 of the Racers’ minus-65 net rushing yards.
Sophomore Jake Dooley is listed No. 2 behind Simmons at the “Buck” position, which in Kent State’s defense is a hybrid defensive end and linebacker.
“We still have quite a bit of depth there,” said Martin. “Zack Hitchens is a young guy we really like. He’ll get a chance. He played on all of our special teams on Thursday. He is an effort guy who can really run.”
Hitchens is a 6-foot-2, 225-pound true freshman from Canal Winchester. Dooley is a 6-2 and 236 pounds. Combined, they have recorded just three college tackles.