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Sunday, October 1, 2006

Hurt Jayhawk Washington OK

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— Kansas University senior linebacker Eric Washington is expected to make a full recovery after being carted off on a stretcher during the third quarter of KU's 39-32 overtime loss to Nebraska on Saturday.

"Eric is doing well," KU coach Mark Mangino said. "It was scary for a while, but the report I got is that he's fine."

After Nebraska running back Marlon Lucky gained five yards on a run up the middle, the pile cleared, with Washington remaining motionless on the turf.

He was on his side for roughly 10 minutes near where Lucky went down, while close to a dozen medical staffers from both sidelines tended to him.

Washington's facemask was removed, he was strapped to a gurney and carted off on a stretcher to a quiet applause.

"That's one of the strongest guys I know," linebacker Joe Mortensen said. "Seeing him like that was hard."

Mangino said Washington was knocked unconscious briefly and lost feeling in his extremities. Soon after leaving for the hospital, Washington regained all of his feeling and reportedly is doing fine. He spent the night in a Lincoln hospital Saturday and was expected to come home today.

Mortensen was in the middle of the pile and was credited with the tackle on the play. He could tell right away something was wrong.

"I was right there," Mortensen said. "I knew when I tried to pick him up and he wasn't moving, it was bad."

It was another setback for Washington, a speedy talent who has battled injuries since enrolling at Kansas last year. He missed the Fort Worth Bowl and much of spring practices with a shoulder injury and reportedly missed several practices in August because of a concussion.

He was having a solid game before the injury, compiling four tackles, a forced fumble and two pass breakups. He was replaced by freshman Arist Wright.

KU's defense didn't seem to lose its focus. Soon after Washington left the game, word made its way to the KU sideline that he was expected to make a full recovery.

"It was a huge relief," Mortensen said. "A lot of us were heavy-hearted."

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