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RB Morlock, WR Shepherd slated to miss spring practices for Bison

FARGO -- Two North Dakota State players will miss spring football because of shoulder injuries, but in the grand scheme of a 15-game season, the Bison actually came out of the year in pretty good shape.Wide receiver Darrius Shepherd and running b...

NDSU wide receiver Darrius Shepherd gets up after catching a 21-yard pass while being defended by Jacksonville State's Brandon Bender during the NCAA FCS championship game in Frisco, Texas. Shepherd is expected to be out six months with a shoulder injury. David Samson / The Forum
NDSU’s Darrius Shepherd gets up after catching a pass during the FCS championship game on Jan. 9 in Frisco, Texas. Shepherd is expected to be out six months with a shoulder injury. (FNS Photo by David Samson)

FARGO - Two North Dakota State players will miss spring football because of shoulder injuries, but in the grand scheme of a 15-game season, the Bison actually came out of the year in pretty good shape.
Wide receiver Darrius Shepherd and running back Chase Morlock will both be sidelined for a few months because of shoulder ailments - Shepherd, a separation that dated back to the South Dakota State game, and Morlock, a torn labrum. Both will be back for summer workouts, said head coach Chris Klieman.
NDSU won its fifth straight FCS title on Jan. 9 and the post-season injury list has been far worse in other years. For instance, eight key contributors in the 2012 title team missed spring football in 2013.
“Actually it’s really good,” Klieman said of his team’s health, although he cautioned it’s possible a couple more players could face a medical procedure. “We’ll find out but if not, that would be great if it were only those two.”
Klieman said the fact NDSU’s defense played less snaps this season was one factor. Plus, the Bison rotated more players on defense than they did last year for sure and possibly the year prior. On offense, the Bison rotated six players consistently on the offensive line. The running back depth went as far down as four players.
“It helped in that we didn’t put such a load on those guys,” Klieman said.
Klieman said backup defensive tackle Austin Farnlof left the team, but still plans to remain in school and graduate at NDSU. The junior redshirted in 2012 and sat out all of 2013 with an injury. He played in just three games this season.
Bison AD recovering after back surgery
Sundays were not much fun for NDSU athletic director Matt Larsen, the result of pain in his lower back that was heightened by being on his feet all day Saturday because of football games. So he underwent surgery last week that he said will hopefully take care of the problem.
Larsen was hospitalized for five days and will be out at least more weeks recovering from the procedure performed at Sanford Health. Larsen had three discs fused as part of the surgery.

He had a minor procedure done in August hoping that would take care of the problem.
“But I knew all along there was a chance that would not work and I would have to do this at some point,” Larsen said. “It just comes down to a time when you potentially could be out three weeks. There really isn’t a good time, but it just worked out with the surgeon that the Wednesday after the title game was open.”
NDSU defeated Jacksonville State (Ala.) for the NCAA Division I FCS championship on Jan. 9. He was released from the hospital on Sunday.
Larsen said the problem was probably a culmination from a car accident he was involved in the summer before his senior year in high school. The result of that included two shoulder surgeries, two back surgeries and a neck surgery and a lot of those were dealing with nerve issues, he said.
“It’s one of those things, you just get used to dealing with pain a little bit,” he said. “Sundays were a tougher day after football Saturdays. But ultimately, I’m 41 years old, and I needed to get this taken care of.”

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