Wake QB Hinton to miss rest of season after re-tweaking knee

Coach Dave Clawson had held out hope that Hinton would be able to return before the of the season, but with only three regular season games remaining, the third-year coach decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out

Ben McKeown—For The North State Journal
Wake Forest quarterback Kendall Hinton (2) evades a tackle attempt by Duke's Corbin McCarthy (26) during the Deacons 24-14 win at Wallace Wade Stadium last season

Wake Forest planned to play quarterback Kendall Hinton in last Saturday’s game against Virginia. Instead, the dual-threat sophomore has been shut down for the rest of the season after re-aggravating a knee injury that has sidelined him since mid-September. Coach Dave Clawson made the announcement Tuesday at his regular weekly press conference. “Kendall had a really good Tuesday practice that had us very optimistic,” Clawson said. “He looked fast, he looked good. But I said I’ve got to see him in a one-on-one situation and on Wednesday, he retweaked it. He’s not going to play this year.” Hinton, who started the season sharing first-team snaps with junior John Wolford, earned the full-time starting job before the Deacons’ win against Delaware on Sept. 17. He pulled up limping on a scramble less than a quarter into that game and hasn’t played since. Clawson had held out hope that Hinton would be able to return before the of the season. But with only three regular season games and a bowl remaining, the third-year coach and the Wake medical staff decided to err on the side of caution and hold him out. “It’s just not healthy yet and he can not protect himself,” Clawson said. “It’s just one of those things with a knee. This has not been a cat-and-mouse game of pretending he was going to play to throw off other people. As of last Wednesday, we gave him the first reps in two-minute drill. “I told him I need to see Kendall Hinton and the first play he did it. And we got excited. Then two plays later, he sidestepped a rush and pulled up on it again. He just had that look of frustration like ‘coach, I still feel it.’ … “It was a minor setback. He didn’t re-tear it or anything. But it’s not completely healed.” Hinton ranked second on the team in rushing last season with 390 yards and seven touchdowns and was among the leaders again with 125 yards and two scores on 25 carries before his injury. He also completed 11 of 19 passes for 174 yards. The good news for the Deacons is that Wolford has done a more than adequate job in Hinton’s absence. The two-year starter has thrown for 1,313 yards and five touchdowns while rushing for 456 yards and six scores while leading Wake to a 6-3 record heading into Saturday’s ACC Atlantic Division matchup at No. 5 Louisville. The Deacons earned bowl eligible for the first time since 2011 with Saturday’s win against Virginia, a game in which Wolford rushed for 105 yards and completed nine of his 10 passes for 83 yard while accounting for two touchdowns. “In some ways for John, it allowed him to play,” Clawson said of Hinton’s injury. “You’re not looking over your shoulder. It is what it is. That’s college football. Injuries happen. It’s unfortunate, but John Wolford played a heck of a game Saturday.” Because Hinton has played in only three games this season, he’s eligible for a medical redshirt. “He would meet all the criteria, but you can’t apply for the medical after the fourth year,” Clawson said. “This would be a pretty open-and-shut case if we apply for it.”