SEATTLE — The Huskies suspected Kasen Williams would miss a considerable amount of time following the 41-17 homecoming rout over California on Saturday night.
Any chance the star receiver might return this season was all but eliminated Monday when coach Steve Sarkisian revealed that in addition to suffering a foot injury, Williams broke his leg while attempting to outjump Golden Bears cornerback Kameron Jackson on a deep pass.
“It was just an odd play where the defensive back landed right on the back of his leg,” Sarkisian said. “All the force caused a break in the leg and then the injury to the foot.”
Williams was expected to undergo an MRI Monday afternoon and was scheduled for surgery Tuesday.
Sarkisian entertained the idea Williams could play in a bowl game this season before adding: “I’m hesitant to talk on specifics until the doctors get with him.”
If initial reports are accurate, Williams is done for the season.
After he was examined Saturday on the sideline and taken to the locker room on a cart, it was reported Williams suffered a complex fracture called a Lisfranc injury.
Its name comes from Jacques Lisfranc (1790-1847), a field surgeon in Napoleon’s army who first described the injury. In many ways, a Lisfranc injury is worse than a broken bone. Rehabilitation often is eight to 12 months.
Former Huskies quarterback Isaiah Stanback had his senior season cut short after suffering a Lisfranc injury during a game against Oregon State on Oct. 14, 2006.
“To Kasen’s credit, he’s in good spirits,” Sarkisian said. “He came to Coach (Don) James’ service (on Sunday). He was with the team today. He’ll take it like a champion. He’ll do whatever we need him to do to get healthy, and he’ll be back.”
Most football teams preach a “next man up” motto and the Huskies are no different.
However, they’ll be hard pressed to replace Williams, a 6-foot-2, 212-pound junior who led Washington in receptions (77) and receiving yards (878) last season.
While his production has dipped this season (29 receptions and 421 yards), Williams was an unheralded blocker and dependable punt returner.
“This is a great opportunity to expand Jaydon (Mickens’) role, to expand John Ross’ role (and) for Damore’ea Stringfellow to try to take the next step,” Sarkisian said. “I think what we saw with Marvin Hall in the punt return game (he) has an opportunity to do some special things for us.
“So we’ve got good depth at the position. We’ll miss (Williams) because he’s a great player, but we’ve got good depth.”
Mickens proved invaluable Saturday. In previous games, the Huskies used the 5-10, 170-pound speedster mostly on flare routes out of the backfield that netted marginal gains.
But Mickens — one of the fastest players on the team — took off downfield against the Bears, outracing defensive backs on touchdown receptions that covered 68 and 47 yards. He finished with a career-best 180 yards on six catches.
“We had some pretty favorable matchups with him one-on-one with safeties,” Sarkisian said. “Jaydon can really run. We see that in the short game, but he got opportunities down the field on these safeties one-on-one and Keith recognized it and got him the ball.”
Even before Williams went down, Mickens, who leads UW in catches (45) and receiving yards (542), and senior Kevin Smith (30 and 504) emerged as quarterback Keith Price’s favorite targets.
Still, neither is considered a possession receiver. The Huskies could elevate Stringfellow (6-3 and 225) into the role, but the highly touted freshman has just one reception.
Washington could also turn to junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who has been somewhat muted considering his preseason All-American accolades. He has 20 catches for 244 yards and four touchdowns.
The Huskies (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) have their second bye of the season this week and will use the extra time to figure out their passing plans.
Coons wins award
Washington senior kicker and punter Travis Coons won the Pac-12’s special teams player of the week award.
He had a busy night Saturday. Coons punted eight times for a 37.8-yard average, including three inside the 10-yard line.
He also extended his perfect field-goal streak to eight in a row, converting from 42 and a career-best 46 yards. He also had three of eight kickoffs result in touchbacks.