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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 Rivals.com, 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 jmackey@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Mackey_Trib.

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