Lynchburg - Liberty All-Big South running back Des Rice will miss the entire 2014 season following knee surgery for a torn ACL and meniscus. Rice had the surgery Tuesday, he's slated to return to LU's backfield in 2015 for his final year of eligibility.
Rice suffered the injury just over three weeks ago in the first practice following the Flames' spring game. Rice was running down the sideline, made a cut, and landed on his leg awkwardly. He said he thought he had just hyperextended it, but an MRI later showed ligament damage to his knee.
Last season, Rice rushed for 967 yards and 16 touchdowns. He ranked second in the Big South in yards per rush (5.2) and his 16 rushing TDs were the second-highest single-season total in Flames' program history. Rice will be redshirted this season and return in 2015.
Head Coach Turner Gill's post spring practice depth chart lists rising junior D.J. Abnar as Liberty’s starting running back heading into preseason workouts. In 2013, Abnar rushed for 411 yards and six touchdowns, while adding eight receptions for 102 yards, all of which were career-high numbers for Abnar.
Liberty opens the 2014 season on the road at North Carolina on August 30 and will have its home opener against Brevard on September 13.