Sonoma State football coaches and team doctors are attempting to determine a course for running back Freddie Bradley, a junior college All-American in his playing days at Moorpark College.
Bradley, a senior who transferred to Sonoma after playing one season at Arkansas, has been hampered by recurring soreness in his right knee.
Sonoma Coach Frank Scalercio and offensive coordinator Jeff Ramsey said Tuesday that Bradley probably would not play against Cal State Northridge on Saturday and added that he might be sidelined for the remainder of the season.
Bradley, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound senior, underwent arthroscopic surgery in May to remove floating cartilage from the knee he first injured last spring playing basketball, Scalercio said.
“We’re trying to find out exactly what the extent of his injury is,” Scalercio said. “We don’t want to take a chance with a kid who could end up injured for life.”
Bradley, 22, sat out Sonoma’s opener, a 40-28 loss to Weber State, and carried five times for 24 yards in a 44-23 loss to St. Mary’s last Saturday.
Though he did not take a particularly hard hit, Bradley’s knee was extremely sore Sunday, Ramsey said. The former Hueneme High star did not practice Monday or Tuesday and was examined by team physicians both days.
Sonoma coaches said they might seek a medical redshirt year for Bradley, who could retain one year of NCAA Division II eligibility as long as he does not complete 10 semesters as a full-time student by next fall.
“This has been difficult for everybody involved,” Ramsey said. “He’s looked good. He has only one good wheel, but he still looks good.”
Said Scalercio: “There are a lot of things to consider. Does another year here hurt his chances to play professionally? It might be something that’s not going to get better. He might be sore for a while and have to learn to play through it. We’ll see what the doctor says.”
Johnny Mack and Dave Hanson will be Sonoma’s top rushing threats when the Cossacks visit North Campus Stadium for Saturday night’s nonconference game. Mack has gained 132 yards in 25 carries and Hanson has run for 117 yards in 19 attempts.
Bradley broke O.J. Simpson’s national junior college records for scoring, touchdowns and all-purpose yardage while playing for Moorpark in 1989 and ’90. At Arkansas, he gained 197 yards in 49 carries in a 1991 season cut short by a foot injury.
The following spring, Bradley and teammate Derrick Martin were dismissed from the Arkansas team by Coach Jack Crowe after they were charged with raping a 13-year-old girl in Martin’s dormitory room.
Bradley and Martin maintained their innocence and were acquitted by a Fayetteville, Ark., jury in January.
By then, Scalercio, who annually recruits several Moorpark players, had succeeded in convincing Bradley to resume his collegiate career in Northern California.
“It’s funny. We used to tease Freddie all the time, saying, ‘You know you’re going to play for us,’ ” Scalercio said. “Of course, we all knew he wasn’t coming up here then. Who knew he’d end up here later?”