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Villanova RB Out For Season

Villanova running back Brian Westbrook, who last year became the first player in NCAA history to rush and receive for over 1,000 yards each, will undergo reconstructive surgery on his left knee and miss the entire 1999 season.

Westbrook damaged the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee after falling on ice at the Villanova campus in February, Wildcats coach Andy Talley said Monday. Westbrook, a junior, will redshirt this season and have two years of eligibility left beginning with the 2000 season.

The school said Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery on the knee in March, and underwent rehabilitation to try and play this year, but that "did not produce the desired results" and he opted for surgery.

Westbrook was named to The Associated Press Division I-AA All-America team last season. In 11 games, Westbrook gained 1,046 yards on 200 carries and ran for 10 touchdowns. He also had 89 receptions for 1,144 yards and 15 touchdowns.

The 5-foot-9 running back set a I-AA season record with 3,026 all-purpose yards and he led I-AA in scoring with 160 points.

Westbrook had previously hurt the knee in high school, but felt no abnormal pain the last two years at Villanova, Talley said.

"We feel bad for Brian, especially after coming off such a phenomenal sophomore season," Talley said. "We are confident that he will return to the field and perform at the same level next season."

Westbrook is the third Villanova running back to sustain a knee injury this year.

Backup running back Roger Harriot tore an ACL in spring practice and is expected back at midseason, while Ducarmel Augustin also injured a knee but should be ready by the start of the season, Talley said.

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