The number two ranked Thunderwolves will be without their leading pass-catcher for the next three weeks. Paul Browning, the team’s starting wide receiver, suffered an injury before the game against Sam Houston State Sept. 13. The injury will sideline Browning until October 18, when CSU-Pueblo takes on Chadron State at home.
Browning tore the meniscus in his left knee and underwent surgery to repair the injury after returning home from the game. He was told his recovery time would allow him back on the field after four weeks.
Browning, a four-year starter, said he felt a slight bit of discomfort during warm-ups. He shrugged it off and played the entire game against Sam Houston, racking up nearly 100 yards and hauling in one touchdown. The injury could have been much worse, and Browning is very aware of the potential damage that could occur moving forward.
“I wanted to get the surgery done before I started to overcompensate for the injury and do something with my other knee,” Browning said.
The senior wide receiver had bigger plans in mind when it came to recovery and his decision to have the surgery instead of simply rehabbing the knee. Browning said he had to get back to full form before the postseason, and surgery was the best route to speed up the process.
“The team can pick it up while I’m out, so I can be back for the big games like Chadron, Mines, and Mesa,” he said.
The Thunderwolf offense relies heavily on the passing game, with seven of their touchdowns coming through the air; two of those were to Browning. Browning is also the team leader in all-purpose yards per game with an even 100 yards on average.
The team will have to rely on their younger receivers to carry the high power offense, as Browning was the only remaining senior in the group. Fellow senior wide receiver, Deontrae Cooper, has been sidelined for the entire season due to a knee injury that happened before the season began.
Junior wide receiver, Kieren Duncan, is second on the team with 162 yards for the year, while Jarred Radebaugh, also a junior, is third with 131 yards. The young wide receivers will have a short adjustment period to work on timing with senior quarterback Chris Bonner because the Thunderwolves go on the road to take on Western New Mexico on Sept. 27, before finally returning home to face Adams State on Oct. 4.
The postseason is the number one goal in mind for Browning when he returns from the injury. After the season, he says he will focus on his potential future in football, but as of right now, the National Championship is his primary focus.