SEATTLE – University of Washington tight end and preseason All-American Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a fractured right pinkie that will require surgery. He will be out an indefinite length of time.
Seferian-Jenkins injured the pinkie Monday night in practice. He visited the trainer’s tent before leaving the field late in practice. He returned shortly after.
He returned in full uniform on Tuesday but did not participate in the team’s scrimmage during practice. Seferian-Jenkins watched from the sideline and slapped high-fives with his left hand while his right dangled at his side.
“Austin’s going to be out for quite a while,” Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He came out with a good attitude and he’s doing all the conditioning work and all the fundamental stuff from a footwork standpoint. But, he won’t be catching balls here for a little while.”
When asked if it would be weeks or months before Seferian-Jenkins’ return, Sarkisian said he didn’t know.
“I’m hoping it would be days, but I really don’t know.”
Sarkisian said he would know more by the end of the week.
Seferian-Jenkins owns most of the Huskies’ all-time receiving records for tight ends after playing just two seasons.
Last season, he was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s best tight end. He led UW with seven touchdown receptions last season and was second on the team to Kasen Williams with 69 catches for 852 yards.
Seferian-Jenkins was arrested on suspicion of DUI in March and had to spend a night in jail as part of his sentence. Washington decided to keep any punishment for Seferian-Jenkins internal, and is not planning to announce if he would be suspended for the opener against Boise State, which is less than three weeks away.
If Seferian-Jenkins’ injury keeps him out, Washington would turn to two other tight ends who combined for six catches last season.
The more experienced of the two is redshirt junior Michael Hartvigson. He has a frame similar to Seferian-Jenkins’ – Hartvigson is 6-foot-6, 257 pounds to Seferian-Jenkins’ 6-6, 276 – but hasn’t been able to get rolling in either of his seasons as Seferian-Jenkins’ backup.
Hartvigson had six catches for 55 yards last year after pulling in eight passes for 30 yards and a touchdown his redshirt freshman season.
While his pass-catching opportunities were limited with Seferian-Jenkins in the fold, more was expected from Hartvigson.
“I’m going to try to rebound now and keep on elevating my game,” Hartvigson said on Monday before he knew about the injury. “Austin’s a good player, but at the same time, this isn’t tennis. It takes all the O-line, all 11 guys on the field. Our job is just to contribute whether it’s blocking or catching the ball. Anything we can do to help the team out.”
He and converted receiver Josh Perkins are the backup tight ends. Perkins was working with the No. 1 offense Tuesday in Seferian-Jenkins’ place. Washington had shifted Evan Hudson, who caught five passes for 31 yards last season, to the defensive line at the start of fall camp.
Perkins made a nice catch up the seam Tuesday. As a former receiver, he’s much lighter than Seferian-Jenkins and Hartvigson. Perkins weighs 224 pounds.
“I just say, when they call my number, I’ve just got to make plays.,” the redshirt sophomore Perkins said, also on Monday. “I’m not going to be Austin, I’m not going to try to be Austin, I’m going to try to be me.”
Washington will hope that’s enough until whenever Seferian-Jenkins firstname.lastname@example.org @Todd_Dybas blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports