- Washington defensive end Joe Mathis will miss the rest of the season because of a foot injury.
SEATTLE (AP) No. 4 Washington will be without its best edge pass rusher for the rest of the season, no matter how long the season lasts.
Washington defensive end Joe Mathis will miss the rest of the season after it was determined surgery was the best way to repair a foot injury suffered a few weeks ago, coach Chris Petersen said Monday.
Mathis had been rehabbing the foot in the hopes that a non-surgical treatment could get him back on the field toward the end of the regular season or potentially the postseason. But the decision was made late last week that the best long-term solution for Mathis was to have surgery.
''He might have been able to rehab and get in there for some games down the road but just between him and the doctors and all that stuff after rehabbing for a couple of weeks, I don't think he was going to feel real comfortable,'' Petersen said.
Mathis' injury is a huge blow to a defense that has been having a standout season. Mathis led Washington with five sacks and was particularly disruptive in two of the Huskies' more impressive victories, against Stanford and Oregon. Mathis had two sacks against the Cardinal and had three tackles for loss against the Ducks. But the lasting image of Mathis' season may have been his pass rush against Stanford that knocked over right tackle Casey Tucker.
Mathis was injured between Washington's win at Oregon on Oct. 8 and its game two weeks later against Oregon State.
Getting pressure off the edge was one of the big questions Washington faced entering the season after the graduation of Travis Feeney and Cory Littleton from last year's team. That duo combined for 14 sacks and 28 + tackles for loss in 2015.
Mathis helped fill that void immediately along with linebacker Psalm Wooching rushing from the other side. The duo combined for 9 + total sacks.
Mathis was originally recruited to Washington by former coach Steve Sarkisian and struggled at first to fit into Petersen's system and his mandates for playing for the Huskies. Mathis tweeted at one point after Petersen's arrival about wanting to leave Washington. Mathis stuck around even through a brief suspension during the 2014 season.
''He's had a lot of stuff football-wise too, injuries and stuff. He's had a lot of things to weather and he's done a really good job with it,'' Petersen said. ''It's unfortunate that he can't finish his senior year out here. Football is important to him and he's a good player for us and all those things. I think all the things that he's been through, on the field, off the field, put him in a position to be able to handle this and I think he's really positive he'll get his foot fixed and try to keep playing.''
Connor O'Brien will continue to start in Mathis' place, as he has for the past three games. Since stepping into Mathis' role, O'Brien has 16 tackles, 2 + tackles for loss and one sack in the past three games.
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