The Force don’t yet know the extent of quarterback Rocky Hinds’ knee injury, but the team knows it’s not good.
Hinds was injured during Saturday’s season-opening loss to Salina. His last play was an interception that he flung underhanded as he approached the boards. Wide receiver Joe Kassanavoid took his place and threw three interceptions.
Hinds will undergo surgery sometime next week, at which point the Force will learn how much time Hinds will miss.
“No, not really,” Martinez said when asked if he was optimistic. “When they can’t tell by the (MRI) scan, that means it’s just not clear. If it’s something minor, it could be six weeks. If it’s something major, then he’s done for the year. Either one of those options aren’t really good for us.”
Kassanavoid will likely start at quarterback at Omaha this week while the Force begins to acclimate new signee Kyle Jech, a four-year starter from Northwestern Oklahoma State who has indoor football experience.
The sooner the Force can prepare Jech to start, the sooner Kassanavoid can return to his natural position. Wichita, though is deep enough at receiver that if Kassanavoid can improve upon his Week 1 performance, it can bring Jech along more slowly.
“It’s just going to be getting him up to speed on our plays, the speed of the game, and what we expect,” Martinez said. “He’s a good-looking kid, throws the ball hard. We’ve got some things we’ve got to work on, but he’s the option right now for the long-term. The short-term option is going to be Joe.”
The Force’s receiving corps includes Brian Murph and Dontel Watkins, who combined for six touchdowns in Saturday’s loss at Intrust Bank Arena. Kassanavoid had the other receiving touchdown.
Brett Soft, a Maize product, had three receptions for 45 yards against Salina.
“It’s a kick to the head losing the quarterback, but the fallout from that is I lose another receiver, having to move Joe over, a big guy who scored a lot of touchdowns for us,” Martinez said. “I’m happy with the guys we have at receiver right now, that just puts a lot of strain on them.
“With Joe in the mix at receiver, we had a lot more options, a lot more flexibility.”
The Force may turn to its defense for stability while the quarterback situation is unsettled. Salina scored seven first-half touchdowns Saturday, but Wichita surrendered 17 points in the second half in spite of the turnovers.
“They woke up in the second half and they definitely played better,” Martinez said. “They still have some things to work on – we all do – but that was the defense that I recognized from camp and from practicing against them every day.”
Force at Beef
When: 7:05 p.m. Friday
Where: Ralston Arena, Omaha
Records: Wichita 0-1, Omaha 0-1
Radio: KNSS, 1330-AM