Florida State senior running back Chris Thompson is out for the rest of the season after injuring his left knee in the Seminoles' win at Miami on Saturday.
It's the second straight season the 5-foot-8, 187-pound speedster has suffered a season-ending injury, this one a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He suffered two broken vertebrae in the fifth game of the 2011 season and worked strenuously to get back for this season.
"A very big blow to us," coach Jimbo Fisher said Monday. "He may be our most dynamic offensive player."
Thompson was well on his way to becoming the 11th-ranked Seminoles' first 1,000-yard rusher since Warrick Dunn did it for a third consecutive season in 1996. Thompson finished the season with 687 yards rushing, averaging 7.5 yards a carry, and was the team's third leading receiver with 21 catches for another 248 yards. He has 1,735 career yards rushing.
"It's tough to see," Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel said. "He was having a fabulous season."
Thompson was also on his way to another huge game when he sustained the injury early in the second quarter. He already had 47 yards rushing and had two receptions for another 47 yards, including a 32-yard gain on the play he was injured.
Although no decision has been made yet on when Thompson will have surgery, Fisher said he was confident his star tailback would rehabilitate fully and be able to resume his career, perhaps at Florida State. Fisher said the school will look into asking the NCAA to grant Thompson a redshirt season since he was injured on his first carry of last year's game at Wake Forest, the fifth game of the year.
It was the third significant personnel loss for the Seminoles this year. Their most heralded defensive player and top pass rusher, Brandon Jenkins, suffered a broken foot in the first game that ended his season. A month before the season began, starting cornerback and punt return specialist Greg Reid was dismissed by Fisher for violating team policy.
Thompson was part of Florida State's all-senior backfield that included fullback Lonnie Pryor and Manuel.
"I was just hoping he'd get up," Manuel said.
James Wilder Jr., will start in Thompson's place on Saturday against Duke (6-2, 3-1) with Devonta Freeman sharing playing time at tailback. The two sophomores have combined to rush for 656 yards and 10 touchdowns this season while Pryor has run for 169 yards and six scores.
"You have to move on," Fisher said Monday. "This game is very unforgiving."