Albany State WR Staton out for rest of season with knee injury

Octavius Staton, right, will miss the rest of the season following a knee injury he suffered during Saturday’s game against Morehouse.

Octavius Staton, right, will miss the rest of the season following a knee injury he suffered during Saturday’s game against Morehouse.

ALBANY -- Albany State offensive coordinator Uyl Joyner saw the look in senior wide receiver Octavius Staton's eyes Saturday and knew something was wrong.

Staton, the Rams' only preseason All-American selection, went down after a catch in the fourth quarter in Saturday's game against Morehouse, suffering a season-ending knee injury.

"It looked like I could see his face as clear as day. He screamed out, and I knew something was wrong," Joyner said after Wednesday's practice. "That's our best receiver going down out there."

ASU trainer Tim Hughley said Staton was "clipped on the lateral side of his leg and sustained an interior crucial ligament tear, total rupture of the MCL and a deep bone bruise."

Staton, who spent Saturday night at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, will have therapy to prepare for surgery.

The injury happened with 9:25 left in the game after Staton caught a pass from quarterback Stanley Jennings. After the catch, his leg was caught between a pair of Morehouse defenders.

Staton held on to the ball for a crucial first-down -- something that didn't surprise Joyner.

"That's just Octavius," Joyner said. "He is going to make the plays that you ask him to make. He goes all out and was doing a way better job blocking that game. He was having a really good game all around. I really hate it for him, because he is one of our four-year guys. He grew up in the program. You want to see him leave on the right note, not leave with an injury."

Staton is second on the team in receiving behind Ronnie Tubbs with 27 receptions, 477 yards and six touchdowns.

Staton, a 2008 graduate of Chattahoochee County High School in Cusseta, wasn't at Wednesday's practice, but Joyner said he talked to the wide receiver on the phone Tuesday evening.

"He is talking about getting back and training and trying to make it to the next level," Joyner said. "He has a great attitude right now, but that's him. He is always working. I hope he makes it to the next level, because I don't want his career to end like this. But if it does end like that, he had a great career here."

Joyner said Staton's big-play capability is irreplaceable, but other receivers like Dougherty County grad Michael Nelson, Mitchell County grad Jesse Atkins and Mark Bell will need to find a way to step up in his absence.

Tubbs leads the team with 30 catches for 527 yards and seven touchdowns, while Orion Ponder has 13 catches for 173 yards and three touchdowns and Janell Jones has eight catches for 88 yards. No other Rams receiver has caught more than six passes this season.

"You already know you can't replace Octavius Staton, so you just go on with what you got," Joyner said.

ASU coach Mike White added: "This is a huge loss to us. Octavius is one of our main receivers and one of our main weapons. This just means somebody else has to step up."