BYU senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton received the bad news late last week:
His season is over, once again.
Cougar head football coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Monday morning that Pendleton had suffered a knee injury against TCU, one that will keep him out of the final three games of the regular season and the bowl.
"He is seeing a specialist today and it has been a tough weekend for him and myself as we are dealing with him having played his last football game at BYU," Mendenhall said. "After working so diligently to fight and come back and help us this season, we will keep him integrated as much as possible in terms of practice and maybe even help coach his position to keep him with us."
According to the head coach, Pendleton never exited the TCU game because of the injury and he didn't even know what play it happened on, but it manifested itself later.
Pendleton missed much of the 2010 season with a different injury but to the same knee, meaning this is the second year in a row that he's had to watch the final games from the sidelines.
Other Cougar players quickly added their support as they expressed their thoughts on losing their teammate.
"I just found out a couple of days ago," said senior linebacker Jadon Wagner. "It's brutal. I feel bad for him. He's a good friend and I know this is tough for him to sit out the last few games of his senior year. He's one of our leaders on defense and one of our main producers."
BYU junior cornerback Corby Eason said that it just won't be the same without Pendleton on the field.
"It's a tough teammate to lose," he said. "He's a guy that tries hard every day. He's a great player on the perimeter. Going through the season, you create a bond. It's devastating to lose someone like that. They sacrifice a lot of time and effort, then they can only watch from the sideline."
Even the guys on offense felt the impact of having another Cougar lost for the season.
"We're behind him 100 percent," said senior center Terence Brown. "We hope everything goes well and that he can get everything figured out. Football is a great way to learn lessons on life and one of those is when you get knocked down, you have to get back up. Pendleton will do that."
Mendenhall got slightly emotional as he thought of the injured senior linebacker and the path that Pendleton has had to take.
"It was really hard," Mendenhall said. "We had a pretty intimate and heartfelt moment in my office and it's hard. I remember sitting in his house recruiting him. Nothing has come easy for him at BYU, yet he has done very well. One of the things that is more difficult as a head coach is seeing players get hurt."
The Cougar head coach said that he hopes Pendleton will still be able to take his game to the next level.
"There might be questions from NFL scouts because of the timing and the rehab it will take, he might miss some of the training sessions, etc. but he has done enough on film," Mendenhall said. "He is an NFL player."
Mendenhall said he would characterize Pendleton's career as one that shows a lot of determination.
"He went from his sophomore year being the highlight of health and production to then a real shift to just grit and determination and recovery," Mendenhall said. "He has been instrumental in helping us play very good defense this year. His day-to-day example, when you hear him walking down the hallway you hear things clicking and popping. He has fluids drained from his knee at least once a week and he keeps showing up to play so he has earned my respect and his teammates respect.
"He's helped us win a lot of games and I would say it was a success. It was not ideal with injuries but he has learned a lot along the way."
The Cougars know that football is a physical game and they know things like this happen, so they just have to move on.
"I'd be down if it happened to me," Brown said. "If that were to happen, it would be something I'd have to deal will and I believe I would get through it. But I don't think about it. I just play every play."
Wagner, Eason and the rest of the defense will now have to make more plays to fill the void left by the loss of Pendleton.
"As a defensive unit, we see that guy hurt and we want to play for them," Eason said. "We use it as positive reinforcement to motivate us to play for that guy that can't play any more."
Wagner said he believes the linebackers have the talent and experience to overcome the setback.
"I don't think it's a question whether or not we have players that can fill in," he said. "He also missed time last year and I think everyone saw that the defense still played well. There are guys that will step up although it's definitely tough to lose him."
Mendenhall knows he has options as far as how he will replace Pendleton and believes the defense will still be as strong.
"It doesn't change much for the remaining players," Mendenhall said. "Jameson Frazier will start and Alani Fua will back him up, while Kyle Van Noy can play there as well if we feel Fua isn't ready."
But even though guys are ready, Pendleton's attitude and personality will be irreplaceable.
"He's a great guy," Eason said. "Over the years I've built a good relationship with him. Looking to my left on the field and not seeing him is going to be hard. Words can't explain it."
Daily Herald sports editor Jared Lloyd can be reached at 801-344-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He can also be followed on Twitter at @JaredrLloyd.