Junior running back Chris Polk, projected as the centerpiece of Washington’s 2011 football season, underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Thursday morning and is expected to miss “a couple weeks” of practice, according to coach Steve Sarkisian.
Polk was at practice Thursday and stood on the sideline throughout the two-hour workout. He walked without difficulty but wore sweatpants, so it was not apparent if he had any bracing on the knee.
“Chris Polk tweaked his knee last night in practice and we went in this morning and scoped him, just to clean up a little bit of a meniscus thing in there,” Sarkisian said after practice. “It’s not serious; I just didn’t want it to linger. I think he’ll be back in no time.”
Sarkisian said the time frame for recovery is vague because “it depends on his body and how it recovers, but I think for the long haul, it was the right thing to do.”
With offensive mainstay quarterback Jake Locker gone, Polk is expected to be the primary threat after his consecutive seasons of 1,000-plus yards rushing.
The 5-foot-11, 222-pound back finished last season with a pair of remarkable games against Washington State and Nebraska.
Polk hammered the Cougars in the Apple Cup for 284 yards on 29 carries, and followed that up by winning the Holiday Bowl MVP award for his 177 rushing yards.
“We’re going to miss him, obviously, he’s a tremendous player,” Sarkisian said.
In Polk’s absence, sophomore Jesse Callier will see most of the action at tailback.
Callier hadn’t heard about Polk’s injury beforehand, so he hadn’t had the chance to consider his new role.
“I was brought up on the saying: ‘If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready,’ ” he said.
Callier said he feels more comfortable as an every-down, between-the-tackles back now that he’s put on 10 pounds and is up to 205.