Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve's status for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan due to a knee injury he sustained during Saturday's 40-21 loss at Connecticut.
The Commodores' leading tackler last season and through the first four games of this one will be reevaluated Tuesday and could have arthroscopic surgery as soon as Wednesday, coach Robbie Caldwell said. The hope is that he would miss no more than one game.
“We’ll probably be without Chris Marve, we won’t know until (Tuesday),” Caldwell said. “We’ll make the decision (Tuesday) whether to scope his knee or not. He has a little bit of a meniscus tear it appears.”
Marve played the entire game against UConn but reported to the trainers that he experienced swelling during Sunday's workout.
“He practiced (Sunday) and was a little sore, they decided to do an MRI and found out there is a little tear in there," Caldwell said. "It’s one that he might can play with if it doesn’t start floating around and lock up, but chances are it needs to be cleaned out.”
Marve said he wants to wait a day or two before he commits to the surgery.
Running back Warren Norman had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Aug. 25 and played 10 days later in the season-opener against Northwestern.
If Marve cannot play on Saturday, Caldwell said redshirt sophomores Dexter Daniels, Archibald Barnes and senior Nate Campbell would fill in. Campbell has played in every game this season.
“Nate Campbell came forward and he played an excellent game (against UConn),” Caldwell said. “The defensive coaches really commended him being physical. We’ve got some younger guys we believe in but they haven’t worked there way up to playing time yet. But now, the light’s got to come on.”
If linebacker depth is an issue, VU is willing to alter defensive schemes around Marve’s injury.
“If it don’t come through we could play more nickel, go with two backers and an extra (defensive back) and we can get it done that way,” Caldwell said. “We’ll find a way to get it done but hopefully our linebackers will step up.”
Marve’s 39 tackles this season are tied with teammate Sean Richardson's for second-most in the SEC.
Marve, a junior, recorded over 100 tackles in each of his first two seasons. He became first SEC player to do so since former VU linebacker Jamie Winborn in 1998 and 99.
As the leader on Vanderbilt’s defense, Marve brings more to the field than his tackle production. He is responsible for reading the offense and setting up the Commodore defense on the field.
“He’s one of the vocal leaders on the field, he calls out all the plays and he just knows what he’s doing and where everyone is supposed to go,” cornerback Casey Hayward said. “That would be a big hurt, but I’m sure the person behind him know what he’s doing as well.”