Chris Murray from RGJ.com checked in today with some relevant quotes from coach Ault regarding injured Wolf Pack receiver Brandon Wimberly. Brandon was shot in the abdomen during a late-night altercation in downtown Reno in mid-June. The injuries he suffered are expected to keep him from playing football this year, but he will be present at upcoming practices and will be on the sideline during games in order to serve as an inspiration to his teammates.
"He’s definitely not playing football this year," Ault said. "I expect him on the sidelines and I expect him to give our football team a reality check about how lucky they are in this day and age to be playing football, to have the opportunity to go to a great university and get an education and how almost unlucky he was. We are going to use that and I’m going to use that. You know how I feel about Wim."
Following his recovery from the incident Wimberly returned home to Los Angeles, but later returned to Reno to attend summer school. Before this summer Wimberly got the OK from his coaches to take additional summer courses so he could graduate early. I speculated after the incident that he might need to put those plans on hold temporarily, but he was able to complete them as planned.
Ault said Wimberly, a junior, was able to finish his summer school classes and is scheduled to graduate in December.
It's really good to hear that he was able to follow through with his plan to put himself in place to graduate early, and I'm happy to hear it. The question then becomes: Will he be able to recover enough to play football in 2012?While his road back physically is definitely going to be a hard one, I am unsure how graduating early would affect his being able to play in 2012. Does anyone around here know of any student athletes that graduated early and came back to play their respective sport for another year?
Murray asked Ault about what he thought Wimberly's future as a football player was.
"Will he play again?" Ault said. "You ask him and he’ll say, ‘Yeah.’ He and I have not talked about that. And that is not an issue at this point in time. I want that degree in his hand. We’ll go from there."
Time will tell here, but it would be a pretty cool story if he were able to make it all the way back and play again. All I can say here is: Good luck Brandon, we're rooting for you. For now though, he'll roam the sidelines and hope to give his teammates all the support he can.