ShareThis Page

Washington's McKenzie to miss rest of season with torn ACL

| Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 11:06 a.m.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Shai McKenzie runs during heat acclimation practice on August 8, 2013 in Washington.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Shai McKenzie photographed at practice on August 8, 2013 in Washington.
Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review
Shai McKenzie runs during practice in August in Washington.
Evan R. Sanders | Daily Courier
Washington's Shai McKenzie tiptoes to stay in bounds during a long run against Mt. Pleasant early in the third quarter Friday, Oct. 12, 2012.
Barry Reeger | Tribune-Review
Washington running back Shai McKenzie gains yardage agianst Jeannette during their WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference game at Washington High School on September 28, 2012.

The worst possible scenario became reality Monday morning when Washington running back Shai McKenzie learned a torn ACL will end his senior season.

“We were all holding out hope and trying to be optimistic,” Prexies coach Mike Bosnic said. “But he has a torn ACL, and it's going to require surgery.”

That surgery will occur Friday morning at UPMC's Center for Sports Medicine on the South Side.

A four-star recruit and the country's 20th-best running back according to, McKenzie tore his right ACL during Friday's 66-10 win at Charleroi when he planted and tried to make a cut.

McKenzie, who had rushed for 195 yards and three touchdowns in the game, was helped off the turf in the second quarter and did not return.

“We didn't want that, but I guess you have to expect that when you're running the ball,” said Shai McKenzie's father, Sean. “We just don't like running on turf; we prefer grass. I guess things happen.”

Shai McKenzie went to Washington Hospital on Friday night but was unable to have an MRI; no one was there to do it, Sean McKenzie said.

All involved hoped it was a sprain or a slight tear, but that hope disappeared about 10:30 a.m. Monday.

“Torn ACL very sad to say my High School career is over but I will have better days in the future I promise,” McKenzie tweeted.

McKenzie declined an interview request.

The recovery figures to take six to nine months, Bosnic said — plenty of time for McKenzie to be in peak form for college football.

“The timing of this thing — it's a shame for our community and everything — but in his interest, it's probably good timing,” Bosnic said. “If you're going to have an injury, it's probably best for it to happen now because he'll have plenty of time to be ready for next football season.”

Junior Malik Wells and sophomore Jordon West figure to get the bulk of the carries for Washington (3-0, 3-0), which hosts WPIAL Class AA Interstate Conference opponent Yough on Friday.

McKenzie finishes his high school career with 4,538 yards and 69 touchdowns, including 647 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. He averaged 37.4 yards per touchdown as a junior and improved that mark to 46.2 yards this season.

After breaking Brian Davis' school record and coming within 52 yards of Rushel Shell's WPIAL single-season mark last season, McKenzie trimmed his 30 FBS scholarship offers to five over the summer: Florida State, Pitt, Virginia Tech, Arkansas and Georgia Tech.

None has indicated whether it would rescind its offers.

“We have some time for recovery,” Sean McKenzie said. “But high school football is just a memory.”

Jason Mackey is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.