Cal Poly fullback Joe Protheroe was diving through the air last Saturday, fighting for extra yards, when he was twisted up by a bulky San Jose State defensive tackle.
“All I remember was just feeling a pop and I was like, ‘yeah, s---,’” Protheroe said Tuesday. “I played the next play but there was no stability.”
Protheroe sat on the sidelines the rest of the game and watched as the Spartans rallied to win. The senior had an MRI on Thursday that revealed serious damage to his right knee, enough to keep Protheroe out for the remainder of the 2017 season, Cal Poly head coach Tim Walsh said Friday.
Protheroe was coming off the best season of his college career — rushing for more than 1,300 yards and 13 touchdowns during his junior season. He was named a 2016 STATS FCS First-Team All-American and was on the 2017 Walter Payton Award Watch List, an honor given to the best offensive player in the FCS. Protheroe’s 2017 season ends after just two games played and 164 yards gained, but there is a silver lining. He still has the chance to apply for a medical redshirt and plans to return to the field for one more season when he is healthy in 2018.
“It’s tough just watching,” Protheroe said. “It kills me mentally. I am blessed that I have a redshirt.”
Senior fullback Jared Mohamed will fill in for Protheroe as Cal Poly travels to take on Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls on Saturday.