INDIANAPOLIS – Robert Marve will have to wait another year for the chance to live up to his enormous potential.
Purdue's junior quarterback will miss the rest of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the school said Thursday. Purdue coach Danny Hope was in shock when Marve went down in the first quarter of Purdue's 31-20 loss to Toledo last Saturday.
"I don't even really know what happened," he said after the game. "I was just standing there watching and couldn't believe it."
Hope wasn't optimistic, and the team's orthopedist eventually confirmed his suspicion.
"Robert Marve is a big part of our football family," Hope said in a statement Thursday. "He has worked extremely hard to be the great player that he is and our heart goes out to him. Boilermaker Nation will rally behind him with all of its support through this tough time. I know he will continue to be an inspiration to his teammates and fans."
Marve tore the ACL in the same knee last year, then bruised it this season, on Sept. 18 against Ball State. It was his first season with the Boilermakers after transferring in from Miami.
The school says Marve will not be available for comment.
It was the second major knee injury for the team this season. Top returning receiver Keith Smith was knocked out for the season against Western Illinois, and Ralph Bolden, last year's top rusher, still hasn't returned after knee surgery in the offseason.
Hope can't believe the number of serious injuries his team has endured.
"It's been difficult, but it can't be an excuse," Hope said. "It's tough with some of our best players being out, but the players that are out there are still talented. It's tough because we're never out there with the same guys."
Redshirt freshman Rob Henry has stepped in the past two weeks after Marve has gone down with injuries.
"I thought he did a good job," Hope said. "I would like him to be more consistent passing the ball. He had a couple passes that were inaccurate. I think he's calm out there. I'm comfortable with Rob Henry being able to execute our offense in most phases."
Henry says he's ready.
"I'm familiar with the game plan," he said Saturday. "If my number's called, I just go out there and try to execute it."
Purdue enters conference play with a 2-2 record after the loss to Toledo. The Boilermakers have a bye on Saturday before opening Big Ten play at Northwestern on Oct. 9.
"The bye week is coming at a good time," Hope said. "We need a rest. We need a break from a physical standpoint and we need a break from a mental standpoint."
Freelance writer Jim Johnson in West Lafayette, Ind., contributed to this report.