Case Cookus officially ruled out for season
Northern Arizona Lumberjacks quarterback Case Cookus has been ruled out for the remainder of the season nine weeks after he broke his collarbone in Week 2 against Eastern Washington.
“We were holding out hope but certain things just didn’t go the way we wanted them to,” Cookus said after practice Tuesday. “It’s just a little too risky to come back this season.”
The final verdict on Cookus comes three weeks after Daniel Bridge-Gadd, who was filling in for Cookus at the position, injured his ACL against Northern Colorado in Week 8.
Cookus’ injury occurred when he rolled out of the pocket and was hit out of bounds on the far sideline, landing on his right shoulder.
Since suffering his injury, Cookus and the coaching staff were confident that he’d be able to come back to the field this season but recent evaluations showed that his injury was not healing quickly enough for medical staff to clear him for play.
Cookus has only played a game and a half this year, having gone 24-for-34 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He has the team’s highest passer rating and completion percentage among players with more than 20 passing attempts. Cookus is responsible for the team’s longest scoring play of the season with an 84-yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Butler in the opener against UTEP.
With just two games remaining in the regular season and a trip to the FCS playoffs not possible for the 3-6 Lumberjacks, it is unclear if Cookus has took his last snap for Northern Arizona. He has one year left of eligibility and said he hasn’t decided if he will return.
“I honestly haven’t decided,” Cookus said. “I graduate this fall and for the most part my head has been on trying to come back. My original thought was that I was going to be able to come back and play with the team. I haven’t put too much thought into it. Plus a good part of it depends on how my shoulder heals.”
“I’m really more focused on that to make sure I can play again,” he added.
Since Cookus was injured Northern Arizona has had a revolving door of quarterbacks, with three different players recording starts, including a wide receiver. Northern Arizona is 2-6 since the last time Cookus played a game start to finish.