July 22, 2018 | ° F

Merrell ruled inactive for matchup with ’Stangs

Photo by Shirley Yu |

Senior outside linebacker Jamal Merrell will miss the Knights’ next game with a kidney injury suffered Sept. 7 against Norfolk State. The captain said he was injured after he intercepted a third-quarter pass.

Jamal Merrell is well aware he and his brother — senior defensive tackle Jamil Merrell — have not played together at the same time this season.

“It’s just football. We talk to each other all the time. It’s something that we already know,” the senior outside linebacker said. “Injuries come and go, so we’re just waiting to be on the field at the same time.”

They will not reunite on the field Oct. 5 at Southern Methodist, as Jamal Merrell was ruled inactive with a kidney injury.

Jamal Merrell said he sustained the injury after his third-quarter interception during the Knights’ second game against Norfolk State. On the play, Jamal Merrell fell on the ball in his kidney region. He finished the game, although he said he was in pain the rest of the contest.

But when he was told it was a kidney problem — an injury not usually obtained on the football field — the prognosis did not surprise him.

“It’s rare, but at the same time it didn’t shock me because it’s football,” Jamal Merrell said. “Injuries come a dime in a dozen, but at the same time I just knew our medical staff was going to do everything in their ability to get me back on the field.”

The injury is just another unfortunate occurrence for the twin captains, as both were in line for promising senior campaigns after entering the season as the Knights’ first and third returning tacklers.

Jamil Merrell sustained a lower leg injury during the backend of training camp, causing him to miss Rutgers’ first two games against Fresno State and the Spartans.

Much like his brother, Jamil Merrell has dealt with it the best he could, even though both have traded spots in the training room.

“It’s not frustrating at all. Things happen,” Jamil Merrell said. “I’m sure things happen in your lives that you don’t agree with, but you just have to push forward and that’s what we have to do.”

They are not the only ones dealing with ailments, as head coach Kyle Flood said the Knights used this bye week to not only work in younger players, but to heal in time for the Mustangs.

As far as injuries are concerned, it is out of Flood’s hands.

“Concerned is probably the right word. I think you are always concerned,” Flood said. “It’s not something I ever worry about because I can’t control it. You’re certainly always concerned about the health of the players and making sure you are putting them in the best position to get healthy.”

On the defensive side, Rutgers has managed to produce despite its share of injuries, producing the No. 5 run defense in the country.

Jamal Merrell believes it can only get better with his return. But it remains to be seen when the Bear, Del., native will return to aid in the process.

“It’s not frustrating [being out], it’s honestly happy because they’re doing phenomenal and I’m not even out there,” Jamal Merrell said. “It’s kind of rewarding so when I get out there, it’s just going to be amazing for what we can do.”

For updates on the Rutgers football team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.

By Bradly Derechailo

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