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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Tuitele, Ducks suffer a bad break

By Rob Moseley
The Register-Guard
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2007

Senior A.J. Tuitele, 19-game starter at linebacker and a UO team captain, might miss the rest of the regular season after suffering a broken foot in the Ducks' 31-24 loss to California at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.

Tuitele initially suffered what UO coach Mike Bellotti called a "stress reaction" in his foot during practice this week. He started Saturday's game but aggravated the injury early on and was in a sweatsuit on the sideline by the second quarter.

"We're going to miss A.J.," Bellotti said. "He's a captain. He's one of our playmakers. That's a difficult guy to have go down. Obviously we hope to get him back at some point in the season, or at least for the bowl game. His leadership, he'll still be a presence out there on the field."

Tuitele, a 5-foot-11, 226-pound native of Wilmington, Calif., entered Saturday as Oregon's fifth-leading tackler with 21 stops in four games. Prior to the season, he was elected one of the Ducks' four captains in a vote of the players.

Bellotti said Tuitele will likely have a surgical screw implanted to help the injury heal and will miss at least six to eight weeks.

In Tuitele's place, Kwame Agyeman got most of the snaps at weakside linebacker Saturday.

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