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Originally published Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Knee injury will end Ryan Perkins' kicking career

A knee injury will end the career of Washington kicker Ryan Perkins after this season. The junior kicked four field goals Saturday in a loss to Arizona State, but said doctors advised him not to keep playing.

Seattle Times staff reporters

It says "junior" by the name of Ryan Perkins in Washington's official program.

But despite having the best day for a UW kicker in six years in Washington's 39-19 loss to Arizona State Saturday, Perkins is preparing to walk away early.

Mostly because he's hoping to continue being able to walk.

The North Thurston High School grad said after the game that doctors have told him he has to medically retire after this season due to the deteriorating condition of his right knee, which was first damaged in UW's spring game in 2006. While punting, Perkins was run into by teammate Caesar Rayford, suffering ligament injuries that required two surgeries just to get back on the field.

Perkins has never felt normal since, however, and said last spring his career was now a year-to-year proposition. A recent visit to the doctors forced the issue.

"We did some X-rays and basically I have done some serious damage to my knee the last two months," he said. "So we got together and they said that the best thing for me is to stop kicking. It was something that was in the back of my mind for a while and they did some tests on it and it's not looking good at all."

In fact, Perkins said the X-rays show that the cartilage is missing and that "the knee is worn out, not smooth anymore. It's coiled. It's frayed. There is no space in certain parts of the knee. The joint is beat up."

Which makes it all the more amazing he kicked field goals of 34, 38, 21 and 20 yards Saturday, the most for any Huskies player since John Anderson kicked five in the 2002 Apple Cup, a triple-overtime win.

"It's definitely interesting to have four field goals after finding out that I have basically destroyed my knee in the last two months," he said. "But it felt good today and as a result, I had four clean field goals."

Perkins said a couple of the kicks "really hurt a lot."

"After today's game, I think maybe the knee will be fine for the next three games and I'll be able to keep doing what we were doing today," he said.

Punter and backup kicker Jared Ballman is also a senior. That would leave UW with just one scholarship kicker heading into next season — redshirt freshman Erik Folk, who has yet to play while battling a series of injuries.

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Running in place

A major reason the UW offense stalled as the game progressed was that the Huskies could never get any running game going. Washington had just 52 yards rushing on 28 carries, 39 on a run by Terrance Dailey on the final drive of the game.

"Our running game is just nonexistent right now," said offensive coordinator Tim Lappano.

UW is averaging just 85.3 rushing yards, which would be the second-lowest in school history.

Lappano blamed the lack of running game for UW failing to get touchdowns on 5 of 6 possessions inside the ASU 21-yard line.

"It makes it hard in the red zone when you can't run the football," he said.

Was it a fumble?

There were four replay reviews in the first half, one on a play the Huskies continued to protest after the game, a fumble by fullback Paul Homer that was returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Homer was attempting to pick up a fourth-and-one at the UW 44 when he reached out and fumbled the ball. Homer and Huskies coaches thought he might have been down. A replay appeared to show that Homer's knee didn't touch the ground as he was on a pile of other players.

"I remember reaching forward and that's when it fell out," Homer said. "But I thought I was on the ground at the time."

Sun Devils' salvage

After snapping a six-game losing streak, Arizona State receiver Michael Jones believes there's still time to save the season.

"We've got three games left," said Jones, who caught 11 passes for 146 yards and two touchdowns. "If we can win out, take these last three games, then maybe somebody will invite us to a bowl game. That's always a good way to end the season."

Jones had his best game since a 162-yard outing in the season opener against Northern Arizona.

"It feels good to finally get a win," he said. "We haven't won in like two months and it was great to be with my teammates singing the fight song in the locker room."

NOTES

• Linebacker Chris Stevens recovered a fumble and finished with a season-high seven tackles. The senior, however, wasn't happy. "I want to win. I could[n't] really care less how I do," he said. "I want a victory. If I didn't get a single play and we won I would be a lot happier."

• Huskies kick returner Jordan Polk left the game in the second quarter with a possible concussion.

• Washington cornerback Vonzell McDowell left with an undetermined injury to a hand or wrist. Defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim left briefly with a pinched nerve but returned.

• Washington's game captains were Homer, Stevens, defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim and tight end Michael Gottlieb.

• Senior walk-on receiver Chancellor Young saw his first action since injuring his knee the week before the Stanford game. He was on the kickoff teams and credited with a tackle in the first half.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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