UNT defensive back Freddie Warner is out for the year with a broken arm, head coach Dan McCarney confirmed late Wednesday night.
Warner went down toward the end of practice Tuesday, just four days before UNT’s season opener on Saturday night at home against Idaho.
It’s a terrible turn of events for a player who has been through a lot. McCarney had praised Warner and tight end Marcus Smith earlier Tuesday for their perseverance in returning to action after tearing their ACLs twice in the same knee.
“To come back and not only play, but play good football and contribute to our team the way they will this season is pretty amazing stuff,” McCarney said. ” I wanted to mention them because they are two outstanding young men. We didn’t know what we would get and how they would respond. It goes right back to their determination and work ethic.”
Warner started out as a cornerback, but moved to safety during the off-season. He worked his way into UNT’s plans only to see his season cut short before it ever began.
The break was bad enough that it required surgery. McCarney said the procedure went well.
If there is a silver lining for UNT it is that Warner didn’t sustain another injury to the same knee, which would certainly have been career-ending. He is listed as a sophomore in UNT’s media guide, leaving open the possibility he could return and play in each of the next two seasons.
UNT is also deep at safety, where it has two key players returning in Marcus Trice and Lairamie Lee. Louisville transfer Zed Evans has also made a big impression in fall practice. McCarney has said that all three will play.
Losing Warner is the second tough break UNT has experienced in fall camp, coming on the heels of the team finding out that backup tackle Justin Manu is not eligible. Manu found out his eligibility window run out due to an odd set of circumstances related to when he first enrolled in junior college.
For more, see Friday’s editions of the Denton Record-Chronicle.