By Chadd Cripe
Boise State junior tailback D.J. Harper has torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee for the second straight season, Boise State announced Tuesday. He is out for the rest of the season.
Harper was injured while trying to make a cut during Saturday's game against Oregon State. He immediately grabbed his knee. He went to the sideline, went through some exercises and returned to the game.
Harper also was injured in the third game of the 2009 season. He redshirted.
Having lost two seasons to injury, it's possible Harper could ask the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after he completes his senior year in 2011.
Harper has rushed for 160 yards and two touchdowns this season in a tailback tandem with Doug Martin. Harper also has four catches for 36 yards. He had a 71-yard touchdown run against Virginia Tech.
Senior Jeremy Avery likely will step into Harper's role. Avery, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, has been used in special packages this season while Martin and Harper handled the base plays.
Oddly, Harper is the third player in less than a year to tear the same ACL for a second time. Linebacker Daron Mackey (2008 and 2009) and offensive lineman Cory Yriarte (2009 and 2010) also did it.