Posted: 11:50 pm Thursday, October 11th, 2012
By Jeff Greer
For a Cardinal Newman team hoping to finally prove its worth against district rival American Heritage, Travis Rudolph’s broken finger couldn’t have come at a less inviting time.
Two weeks ahead of his team’s District 7-3A showdown with American Heritage, a game that will likely decide the district champion, Rudolph had surgery Tuesday to repair a broken and dislocated finger on his left hand. Cardinal Newman coach Steve Walsh said Rudolph injured his finger in Newman’s 27-19 win over Wellington last Friday and the recovery should take two-to-three weeks.
Cardinal Newman plays Coconut Creek-North Broward Prep at 7 p.m. Friday, followed by American Heritage before a week off. That gives Rudolph, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound junior who is verbally committed to Miami, a chance to come back ahead of his team’s Nov. 2 matchup against Spanish River. With a playoff spot secured and no real meaning attached to that River game, there’s a chance Rudolph would instead return for the last regular-season game, against Boynton Beach, on Nov. 9, which would give him a game to prepare for the playoffs.
It’s a significant blow to Newman, which relies on Rudolph’s combination of good hands, cutback ability, speed and power to lead its offense. He’s used in a variety of ways, both running routes as a receiver, lining up as a sidecar or backfield running back or coming off the ends for jet sweeps and other motion handoffs. Rudolph accounts for 34 percent of Newman’s total offensive yardage this fall, with 381 receiving yards and 316 rushing. His 12 touchdowns leads the team and represents nearly half of his team’s 32 offensive scores.
Newman’s dealt with multiple injuries to its key offensive weapons, from sophomore running back Erick Hardnett’s sliced finger, an art-class injury that required stitches, to senior back Devonte Brown’s deep thigh bruise, but remains undefeated through six games. Those two will handle most of Newman’s rushing duties with Rudolph out.
Seventeen of quarterback George Mastics’ 39 completed passes this season are to Rudolph, leaving the pass-catching onus in Rudolph’s absence on senior tight end Matt Burke, a BCS prospect with 14 catches and three touchdowns, plus sophomore receiver Andrew Owers and junior Arrian Parham, who each have three catches this fall.