EUGENE - Oregon sophomore quarterback Justin Herbert suffered a broken collarbone while rushing for a touchdown in the first quarter of Saturday night's 45-24 win over California, according to multiple sources.
The injury occured near the right-handed quarterback's left shoulder and according to a source is not considered to be season-ending.
Herbert scored on a seven-yard run to give the Ducks (4-1) a 17-0 lead with 2:14 remaining in the first quarter.Broken collarbones can take from between four and eight weeks to heal depending on the severity of the break. If fractured, Herbert would probably be done for the season. If it's a hairline break, he could return in as little as a few weeks. He did not appear to be in serious pain following the injury and as he walked off the field.
The injury occurred shortly after senior running back Royce Freeman headed to the locker room after it appeared that he injured himself also somewhere around the shoulder area. He also did not return to the game but his injury is said to not be that serious and he could return as soon as Saturday when the Ducks hosts No. 16 Washington State (5-0), which upset No. 5 USC on Friday night.
Oregon coach Willie Taggart offered no details about his players' injuries during his postgame press conference. However, rumors began circulating immediately following the game that Herbert had indeed broken his collarbone. Several sources close to the team told CSN that they were hearing that Herbert had suffered a break. Official team sources confirmed the news later.
Herbert finished the day 7 of 8 for 86 yards for one touchdown.
Compounding the problem at quarterback is that redshirt senior backup Taylor Alie, who replaced Herbert, ended up leaving the game in the fourth carry after getting injured on a running play after he had completed 9 of 13 passes for 41 yards.
That led to Taggart going to freshman quarterback Braxton Brumeister to finish the game. He completed his lone pass attempt for four yards.
Sources say that Alie's injury isn't serious. That's good news because if he were out the Ducks would be down two just Burmeister and walk-on freshman Mike Irwin out of Lakeridge High School.
Oregon entered last spring with a very deep group of quarterbacks that included redshirt sophomore Travis Jonsen and redshirt freshman Terry Wilson Jr. However, Wilson elected to transfer in April during spring drills and in the summer Jonsen left the team leaving Oregon with Herbert and Burmeister, who enrolled at Oregon early enough to participate in spring practices.
The loss of Jonsen and Wilson forced Taggart to move Alie from wide receiver to quarterback. Alie went to Oregon as a quarterback and in 2015 appeared in games, along with Jeff Lockie, after starter Vernon Adams Jr. injured the index finger on his throwing hand.
In 2016, the Ducks moved Alie and Lockie to wide receiver and went with senior graduate transfer Dakota Prukop, Herbert, Wilson and Jonsen. Herbert took over the starting job week 6 against Washington and threw 19 touchdown passes the rest of the way.