AUBURN, Ala. -- After making it all the way back from two devastating ACL and Achilles injuries in back-to-back seasons, earning a sixth-year of eligibility from the NCAA and returning for one final year in the secondary for the Auburn Tigers, fans of Aairon Savage -- an Albany native and former Westover star -- did not want to see what took place Saturday during No. 7 Auburn's 65-43 win against No. 12 Arkansas.
Late in the game, Savage, a defensive back, was helped off the field by teammates and trainers after injuring what appeared to be his right leg during an attempt to make a tackle on a Razorbacks runner. Savage did not return, and no information was immediately available about the extent of the injury.
"We will know more (today), but it breaks my heart," Auburn coach Gene Chizik told the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. "When I went out on the field and he is laying there and he is crying and he has tears in his eyes, that hurts me. This guy has done everything we've asked him to do to come back and be a football player at Auburn because he loves Auburn and he loves football, and that hurts."
The Injury happened during fellow senior safety Zac Etheridge's 47-yard fumble return for a score. Etheridge, like Savage, had battled back from a serious injury (neck) last year to return to the team. After Etheridge returned the fumble, Savage lay on the 45-yard line. The replay on CBS, which was airing the game, showed the injury and it appeared to be to Savage's ankle, which looked to get caught in the turf and turn awkwardly.
The telecast also showed Chizik and players going over to check on Savage as soon as he made it to the sideline.
"I just told him I'm praying for him," Etheridge told the Dothan (Ala.) Eagle. "I know Aairon's been through a lot, and I have too. I just hope it'll all turn out to be good."