Utah State received some good news Sunday when it found out injured quarterback Chuckie Keeton had been released from a hospital in Honolulu and was cleared to return home.
Keeton, who started the first eight games of the season for the Aggies, was hurt late in the second quarter of USU's thrilling come-from-behind 35-31 victory over Hawaii late Saturday night.
"His prognosis, I believe, is very good," USU team physician Trek Lyons said. "We're going to find out a lot more in the next 24 hours. ... He's moving around, but he's very sore today. He'll be coming home later."
The true freshman from Houston was injured on a running play. Keeton got hit from behind and, as he was falling to the ground with his head down, he was hit again.
"When he got hit, he had a flexion injury that involved his spine," Lyons explained. "When he was injured, he was aware of who he was. He didn't have any kind of head injury or anything like that. It was more that he had some tenderness and pain in his spine as we were examining him. He was able to move his extremities.
"Following spinal protocol that we follow, we had to protect him, spine board him and take him off the field. You are familiar with what stingers are, right? His was a stinger, but a stinger that involved more of his spinal cord and sprain in his back."
Lyons is not sure how many games Keeton will miss due to the injury.
"It's too early (to tell) right now," Lyons said. "We'll basically see how he responds to the treatment that he has and basically what's going on with him over the next 24-48 hours. Then we kind of get a pretty good idea of the speed at which he improves and everything.
"... He was moving all of his extremities. He was completely aware of what was going on. Chuckie is a very grounded, tough kid who hates leaving the game for any reason. He was aware that it was a pretty serious injury. ... We just took extra precautions to make sure that he was OK."
On the season, Keeton has completed 106 of 174 passes for 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns, to go along with just two interceptions. He has also rushed for 283 yards and four touchdowns on 67 carries.
After Keeton went down, Adam Kennedy came off the bench to pass for 163 yards and two touchdowns to spearhead USU's comeback.
There was some concern the injury could have been a lot worse to Keeton.
"Once a person falls into any criteria for spinal precaution, once that is pretty obvious, then my role becomes very straight forward as far as what I need to do," Lyons said. "... The good news is that he's up and about. He's doing well. We talked to his folks and they are very good, but concerned. He's definitely doing a lot better."
Safety Walter McClenton was also injured the game.
"He injured his foot," Lyons said. "We didn't have the capability to image more of what's going on with his foot. We took a look at it and he's pretty swollen. The long plane ride (home didn't help). But it was a mid-foot injury.
"... He just came down hard and awkwardly on it."
McClenton had two tackles in the game.