Football

Thompson out for season following hip surgery to correct blood-flow problem

UPDATED: Saturday, Sept. 29, 9:51 p.m.

Ron Thompson, a Syracuse freshman tight end, had surgery to repair a blood-flow problem in his hip, his high school coach Vernon Burden told The Daily Orange on Saturday.

Thompson was declared out for the season last week by Syracuse’s athletic department, which did not specify the nature of the injury. Sue Edson, assistant director of athletics for communications, said Saturday that the SU athletics department could not share any further details on Thompson’s injury.

Burden, who is an assistant coach at Southfield High School in Michigan, said Thompson’s injury was originally thought to be a groin problem. But subsequent treatment failed to eliminate the problem, and an MRI revealed the issue with his hip socket.

“There wasn’t enough blood flow getting into a certain socket, the one where your hip and pelvis meet,” Burden said.

Burden said he spoke with Thompson after the surgery and that the 6-foot-4-inch, 256-pound freshman will be on crutches “for a couple months.” He was unsure whether or not Thompson would be back to 100 percent in time for spring football, but he said the start of the 2013 season was not in jeopardy.

“He’s really looking forward to getting right into rehab and being back,” Burden said.

Though he is just a freshman, Thompson was expected to receive playing time this season for the Orange. He was a four-star recruit according to Scout.com and was arguably the top signee in head coach Doug Marrone’s recruiting class this past year.

Thompson caught 67 passes for 809 yards as a senior at Southfield, and he had scholarship offers from Michigan, Illinois, Vanderbilt, Indiana, Bowling Green and Toledo in addition to Syracuse, according to Rivals.com.

Burden said Thompson was used much like San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates — as a traditional tight end and split out as a wide receiver. He said Thompson created “mismatch nightmares” on out-routes, and high school-sized cornerbacks had no chance of tackling him while linebackers struggled with his speed.

“He was hard to bring down by opponents because he had the size of pretty much an offensive lineman, but his athleticism, especially after the catch, was difficult to defend,” Burden said.

Without Thompson, the tight end rotation has been essentially reduced to two players for Syracuse so far in 2012. Beckett Wales maintains the starting spot, and David Stevens serves as the backup. Wales has caught 13 passes for 112 yards. Stevens has only one reception for five yards.

But Burden is confident that Thompson will return to the high level of play he showcased in high school, saying he will one day excel in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

The present, though, is all about rehab, and it’s not something Thompson enjoys.

Said Burden: “It’s tearing him up not being able to play.”

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