James Madison University said starting quarterback Michael Birdsong underwent an emergency appendectomy on Tuesday, leaving his availability for the start of the season in doubt.

The Colonial Athletic Association school said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound sophomore will be out indefinitely and his recovery timeline will be determined in the near future.

"This definitely is disappointing for Michael and the entire program," football coach Mickey Matthews said. "He had a very solid spring to prepare for the season, so I know he is disappointed personally. We will adapt, starting with today's practice, and hope that Michael will have a speedy recovery and can be back on the field soon."

Birdsong threw for 478 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 179 yards and one touchdown as a freshman last season.

Redshirt senior Quintin Hunter or redshirt sophomore Lafonte Thourogood, a transfer from Vanderbilt, would likely open the season at quarterback if Birdsong can't start the home opener against Central Connecticut on Aug. 31.

James Madison finished with a 7-4 record last year, including 5-3 in CAA Football.