As the Arizona Wildcats huddled at midfield Saturday, Jake Fischer sat in the back of a John Deere cart with an icepack on his knee and a grimace on his face.
It was, instantly, the snapshot of a snakebit spring.
Fischer suffered a right knee injury when he collided with offensive tackle Fabbians Ebbele near the end of the UA's annual spring game. Coach Mike Stoops won't know the severity of Fischer's injury for a few days, but he admitted following the offense's 53-10 win that he's concerned.
The Wildcats' starting strong-side linebacker had to be helped off the field by his teammates. He left Arizona Stadium in the back of a cart.
"It'll be disappointing if it's significant," Stoops said. "That'll be another major blow for us."
Fischer's injury clouded a frantic spring game, played before 4,500 fans.
Arizona posted 462 yards of total offense in 60 plays, scoring four touchdowns against an overmatched pass defense.
Starting quarterback Nick Foles completed 11 of 16 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown. Backup Matt Scott did one yard better, completing 11 of 13 passes for 134 and a score.
But nobody had a better day than Richard Morrison. The quarterback-turned-wide receiver caught four passes for a team-high 63 yards and two scores. Bryson Beirne found Morrison on a 26-yard touchdown pass, giving Arizona's offense its first points of the day. On the next drive, Foles hit the Cats' inside receiver on a 23-yard scoring play.
Morrison "is a playmaker," Stoops said.
"He gives us another skill guy that can really move when he catches the football," he said. "He's elusive."
Morrison said he's learning from the best, Juron Criner; the Wildcats' all-conference receiver caught three passes for 26 yards Saturday.
"My goal is to be as good as him," Morrison said.
Texas transfer Dan Buckner caught three passes for 57 yards and a score, and Daniel Jenkins led all running backs with 35 yards on eight carries.
The spring game took an ugly turn when Fischer went down with 2 minutes 48 seconds remaining. The Wildcats' linebacker was blitzing off the edge when he collided with Ebbele, who was blocking another rusher.
"There was a big crash," Ebbele said. "I got hit from the back and rolled over him."
Linebackers Paul Vassallo and Derek Earls didn't see the collision, but knew from Fischer's reaction that something was definitely wrong.
"It looked like he was in a lot of pain," Vassallo said. "We have to hope for the best. I'm sure we'll know more Monday."
Fischer finished third on the team with 58 tackles a year ago, and added 7 1/2 tackles for loss and two sacks.
Arizona carried just six linebackers in spring drills, meaning there may not be enough depth to replace the former Ironwood Ridge star, should he miss any significant time.
Fischer is the third UA player to suffer a potentially serious injury in spring drills. Starting safety Adam Hall and backup tailback Greg Nwoko both tore knee ligaments early in camp. They are are questionable to start the season after undergoing surgery.
Defensive tackle Justin Washington and cornerback Shaquille Richardson were held out of contact drills, and did not play Saturday, as they continue to recover from off-season surgeries. Earls played the final two weeks of spring with a cast on his left hand, the result of a broken bone near his thumb.
Foles said most of the injuries were unavoidable.
"There's not really a time when you're going to play at 100 percent. That's football," he said. "We had a couple of guys who had surgery, but we're a close group. We're a family. We're going to support them and get them back as fast as we can."
Stoops said he had no explanation for the Wildcats' rotten luck. Arizona will open training camp during the first week of August.
"Things have a way of happening in threes," he said. "I don't know. Bad luck."