Just more than a month ago, Kansas junior Joe Dineen injured his right hamstring in the Jayhawks’ loss at Memphis. Days later, both the junior linebacker and KU’s coaches thought he’d return to the lineup in no time, particularly with the team headed into its bye week.
However, Dineen has missed every snap for Kansas since walking off the field in the first quarter Sept. 17. Head coach David Beaty said the would-be starting linebacker isn't expected to play for the fourth consecutive game Saturday, against Oklahoma State (4-2 overall, 2-1 Big 12), and it’s nearly reached a point where the staff isn't sure if the team captain will make another appearance this season.
“I’m hoping that we can get him back pretty quick here, but he's not progressing like we’d like him to, and that's a blow for us defensively,” Beaty said of playing sans Dineen, who had 16 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a pass breakup and a quarterback hurry in just more than two games. “It's giving somebody else an opportunity, but you're talking about one of your captains and one of the leading tacklers in the conference from last year (86 total) that we're missing.”
When KU returned from Memphis, Dineen relied on crutches for a couple days. Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said the consensus at the time was a long rehab awaited one of the team’s leaders.
Kansas football coach David Beaty speaks with the media about problems on offense, evaluating quarterbacks, Saturday's homecoming game against Oklahoma State, and much more.
“And then three days later he’s jogging and running around. So it did, it gave the appearance that, ‘All right, this ain’t as bad as we think. It actually looks pretty good.’ But it just kind of paused from there,” Bowen said. “It’s unfortunate, because Joe’s such a hard-working kid and put so much into getting ready for this season. To have an injury take you out of it is unfortunate.”
The quick signs of improvement made Lawrence native Dineen and his coaches think maybe he’d miss one game. Instead, all involved are taking a patient approach.
Said Beaty: “You know how those hamstrings are, man. They're not done being healed until they're healed. You feel like they're about to pull the entire time and all the sudden you're fine and you don't feel it anymore, and he's just not to that point yet.”
As much as Dineen would rather play than sit, Bowen said the local linebacker hasn’t tried to make an overly aggressive return.
“I think he understands that if you go out there and you’re not ready, you’re really probably just gonna hurt the team,” Bowen said. “He’s not that guy.”
As Dineen’s rehab continues, Kansas gets closer to a scenario in which the 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior could apply for a medical redshirt.
“If things don't work out, I think it certainly would be,” Beaty replied when asked about that possibility. “But hopefully we can get him back. I don't know if it's gonna work out or not, though. We'll see. It's giving him a lot of problems.”