TCU

TCU linebacker Howard not practicing following hospital stay

TCU linebacker Travin Howard intercepts a pass intended for West Virginia tight end Elijah Wellman in the fourth quarter of a game last season at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Howard was the Horned Frogs’ leading tackler a year ago.
TCU linebacker Travin Howard intercepts a pass intended for West Virginia tight end Elijah Wellman in the fourth quarter of a game last season at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Howard was the Horned Frogs’ leading tackler a year ago. Star-Telegram

TCU linebacker Travin Howard missed the first week of practice because of an “emergency-type” medical issue, but is home now and expected back at school next week, coach Gary Patterson said after practice Thursday.

Howard, who led the Horned Frogs in tackles last season, won’t practice for at least two weeks after he returns, Patterson said.

It’s the latest injury to hit the Frogs, who have already announced four players will miss the season because of injury. Also Thursday, Patterson said placekicker Jonathan Song may miss the season opener after stubbing his toe.

Patterson said Howard was in the hospital “a couple of days” and that there is no expectation of when he will return.

“It wasn’t from a hit. It was just one of those things,” Patterson said. “Medical issue.”

TCU linebacker Travin Howard had a team-high 105 tackles, three forced fumbles, a sack and an interception last season after moving from safety.

Howard had 105 tackles last season after going from backup safety to starting linebacker because of personnel losses. He was the Alamo Bowl defensive MVP and enters this season on the watch lists for three defensive awards.

Once he became a starter, he rarely came off the field last season, also playing safety in some packages.

Patterson said Sammy Douglas is working in Howard’s spot.

Asked if Howard will be alright, Patterson said, “Well, we hope so. I don’t know. I’m not going to jinx him.”

Cornerback Julius Lewis, running back Shaun Nixon and two reserve offensive tackles are already sidelined for the season. Their status was announced before the start of fall camp.

Last season, the Horned Frogs lost 89 games from starters because of injury.

TCU is already missing four players for the season, cornerback Julius Lewis, running back Shaun Nixon and offensive tackles Bryson Henderson and Trey Elliott.

Song, a sophomore from Fort Worth, is the leading candidate to replace four-year kicker Jaden Oberkrom.

The roster lists three other kickers — junior Brandon Hatfield, redshirt freshman Ryan Graf and freshman Cole Bunce.

“We’ve got to find us a kicker,” Patterson said.

Asked who will kick in Song’s place, Patterson said somewhat jokingly, “I don’t know. We’ll find out. Right now, if I don’t know their names, obviously it’s not so great.”

Other players are banged-up. Patterson said defensive ends James McFarland and Tipa Galeai were out Thursday.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

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