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Landon Bradley to undergo season-ending knee surgery Nov. 16

By Steve Yanda

The good news for junior offensive tackle Landon Bradley was that doctors recently had fitted him for a smaller cast that would allow him full movement of the fingers in his surgically repaired right hand. He previously had been forced to play with the hand wrapped into a giant club.

The bad news for Bradley is that his increased finger mobility will do him little good on a football field in the near future. He suffered an injury to his left kneecap during Virginia's 55-48 loss at Duke last Saturday and will undergo season-ending surgery Tuesday, according to Bradley's mother, Regina Vasquez.

Bradley played just more than one quarter at right tackle -- the opposite end of the offensive line from which he started the first five games of the season -- against the Blue Devils before the injury occurred. Bradley said Wednesday night that when he is able to return to team workouts, he plans to play left tackle.

"I'll go back to the left," Bradley said. "I like it a lot better over there with my man, (left guard) Austin (Pasztor). Me and him got good chemistry together. We've got calls between me and him that nobody else would understand. Just different calls for different situations, and we just understand what each other's thinking a lot of times. And we live together, so that helps too. We're always around one another."

Bradley has a three-inch scar on top side of his right hand below the pinkie finger. He said the doctors had to insert six screws and a plate into his hand.

"It feels about the same," Bradley said. "It's just a little tight from the swelling. It's just a little tight trying to grip stuff. But it feels the same. I don't feel the screws or the plate or anything. I can't complain with it. It's been doing everything I've asked of it."

When Bradley first returned to practice, his hand was wrapped into a giant club, which, he said, "gave me a little extra punch." Bradley dressed for the games against Eastern Michigan and Miami, but did not play in either one.

He started Saturday's game at Duke at right tackle "so that way I can keep the inside gap protected with my left hand, so I can grab a hold of somebody," Bradley said. "That's the quickest way to the quarterback, and you want to keep that protected right away. That will keep somebody from going into the gap right after their first step."

Less than a minute into the second quarter, Bradley's left kneecap popped out of place, Vasquez said. Bradley tried to limp off the field until coaches on the sideline told him to get on the ground so that the game clock would stop while the player was examined by the team's medical staff.

"It's a devastating blow to the young man," Virginia Coach Mike London said Thursday. "He wanted to get back, and he wanted to just kind of finish up strong and be a part of perhaps a strong finish, but his health and well-being is the main focus."

By Steve Yanda  | November 12, 2010; 6:03 PM ET
Categories:  Football  
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