MOORE — Oklahoma quarterback Kendal Thompson suffered a broken right foot in Thursday’s practice and is expected to miss the rest of preseason camp and, likely, the first few games.
“We’re optimistic that Kendal will return early in the season,” OU coach Bob Stoops said in a statement released Thursday afternoon. “Kendal will undergo a surgical procedure today. He has a very positive outlook and is eager to rejoin his teammates on the field as soon as possible.”
Thompson, a redshirt sophomore, competed for the starting job with junior Blake Bell and redshirt freshman Trevor Knight throughout the spring. The competition was supposed to resume when the Sooners held their first preseason practice Thursday morning. Obviously, the injury to Thompson drops it to a two-man race.
Thompson, a former standout at Southmoore and the son of former OU quarterback Charles Thompson, did not play in any games last season.
Oklahoma is rebuilding its defensive line, but one of the defensive ends it brought in to help isn’t practicing. Stoops said freshman D.J. Ward is being held out of practice because of a “spleen issue.”
“We learned about it after it (preseason practice) started,” Stoops said. “Doctors, he and family are figuring it out. Once we know what it’s going to take, we’ll say so.
Ward graduated from Southmoore High School, but didn’t play his senior year because of an eligibility ruling by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association.
The 6-foot-2, 245-pound defensive end was a consensus four-star recruit and was both Rivals.com’s and ESPN.com’s No. 1 prep player in Oklahoma.
Ward enrolled at OU in January but wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to practice until late in the spring. He only went through three, including the spring game, of the 15 allowed spring workouts.
Stoops said there wasn’t a timetable for when or if Ward will begin to practice.
“We’re unsure where that will lead,” he said.
The absence of another defensive lineman adds another challenge for a rebuilding unit. Ward wasn’t projected as a starter, but it was already a thin group with no returning starters from last season.
David King graduated and Chuka Ndulue moved to defensive tackle in the spring. Charles Tapper and Geneo Grissom seemed to take over the starting spots in the spring with P.L. Lindley and Rashod Favors also getting work with the first unit.
Mike Stoops remarked at OU’s Media Day that OU must develop some playmakers on the defensive line. Without Ward, the pickings are yet more slim.