WSU’s Thompson to miss rest of season

  • CRAIG HILL / The News Tribune
  • Friday, September 29, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

By CRAIG HILL

The News Tribune

After 10 months of speculation, Washington State football coaches finally got the bad news they expected about their star safety.

Senior Lamont Thompson, a three-time preseason All-American, will miss the entire season with a neck injury that has bothered him since last season.

Thompson, the school’s career interceptions leader, learned his fate on Tuesday when he traveled to Seattle to visit a specialist. Doctors told Thompson his pain is from a narrowing of his spinal column and he will likely feel better after a year off, said WSU coach Mike Price.

The doctors also said the injury will not increase Thompson’s chances of a permanent neck injury in the future, Price said.

Thompson will redshirt this season and hopes to return to practice next spring. Thompson never used his redshirt year. He played as a true freshman in 1997 and picked off six passes in his first four starts.

The news didn’t surprise Price, who announced the loss of Thompson on Thursday afternoon.

“If you’re around him every day, you just got this feeling that he wasn’t going to be able to play,” Price said. “But you can’t say anything to the media until you hear for sure.”

  • Burnett, James Price out: The Cougars will play California today afternoon without their starting outside linebacker and their leading rusher from last year.

    Linebacker James Price (broken hand) and running back Deon Burnett (sore knee) will not make the trip to Berkeley because of injuries.

    Price broke his hand against Idaho and Burnett injured his knee in practice on Tuesday.

    Champ Simmons will slide over from middle linebacker to fill Price’s spot while Al Genatone will start in the middle.

    Adam Hawkins will start in Burnett’s place, but David Minnich is expected to see most of the action. However, Minnich will be playing on a sprained ankle he injured on the last play of practice Wednesday.

  • Boose in the dog house: Foss High grad Eric Boose didn’t endear himself to WSU coaches when he left to attend a birth in his family without notifying the coaches.

    “He’s been unexcused for two practices,” Price said. “And thing is, he probably would have been excused if he had let us know.”

    The Cougars will leave Boose at home this weekend when they play at Cal.

  • Lineup changes: As promised, Price made several lineup changes for the Cal game.

    Senior Melvin Camarena will replace Tomasi Kongaika at right defensive tackle.

    Mory Banks, who picked off a pass against Idaho, will reclaim his starting on job on Saturday from freshman Erik Coleman. Price would not comment on why he made the change.

    Billy Newman has a pulled hamstring but will still start at safety. However, cornerback Chris Martin will return kicks in his place.

    Collin Henderson will start over Paul Mencke in the slot, a position Mencke was expected to relinquish once Henderson recovered from a nagging hamstring injury.

    Price has also reshuffled his kick coverage and return teams.

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