No surgery required for Yokoyama

Plenty of bad news unfolded for Buzzy Yokoyama Friday night.

A knee injury struck the Newport Harbor High junior tailback, who had been off to a hot start. Later, while at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, another reason to be sad came, as he was told the Sailors lost to San Clemente, 21-20, in overtime.

But a bit of good news settled in the background. Yokoyama's MRI results showed his right kneecap had dislocated. The knee will not require surgery.

Newport Harbor Coach Jeff Brinkley expects Yokoyama to return during the regular season. But an exact date is not known as Yokoyama is still attempting to discover the severity of the injury.

He said the knee was not sore Saturday. The knee is in a brace and he's using crutches.

Recovery time for some kneecap dislocations takes up to four weeks, while others last up to six weeks.

Yokoyama is confident he'll return during the regular season. He said he will visit the doctor on Monday or Tuesday to find out more about the injury and what he'll need to do to return.

"It's really good news, considering the circumstances," said Yokoyama, who had rushed for 670 yards and seven touchdowns before Friday night, when he went for 82 yards and a TD on 16 carries in the first half. "I was excited when I heard that [it was a dislocated knee rather than torn ligaments].

"I know our team is going to do well. We have so many good players on our team. It's a team sport and it's not about just one guy."

Brinkley said senior Drew Diller will become the Sailors' starting tailback. Newport Harbor is without junior A.J. Swies, another running back who sustained a knee injury two weeks ago, Brinkley said. The coach said he was not certain when Swies would return. Sophomore Tala Teaupa, who has been the junior varsity tailback, could also be called upon. Junior free safety Titus Hasson is also an option, as is sophomore defensive back Landon Gyulay, Brinkley said.

It will be a challenge for the Sailors to make up for Yokoyama, a powerful runner who was averaging 8.2 yards per carry.

"I'm just happy that we get [Yokoyama] back at some point during league play," Brinkley said. "He's been playing so well. Everyone felt bad for him because he has been doing such a great job. He was doing great [Friday] night."

Brinkley also said senior Dillon Gillette, the Sailors' 6-foot-2, 220-pound right tackle, sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game.

Down, 21-20, in overtime, Newport Harbor went for two to try to win. Normally, the Sailors run to the right behind Gillette on two-point-conversion attempts, Brinkley said, but they went left and San Clemente stuffed the play.

Brinkley said Gillette will not be in pads throughout the week. Brinkley will await clearance from doctors to put the lineman back into action.

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