Austin Seferian-Jenkins has a fractured right pinky that will require surgery. He will be out an indefinite amount of time.
Seferian-Jenkins injured the pinky Monday night in practice. He visited the trainer’s tent before leaving the field late in practice. He returned shortly after.
Tuesday, he was in full uniform but did not participate in the scrimmage during practice. Seferian-Jenkins watched from the sidelines and slapped high-fives with his left hand while his right dangled at his side.
“Austin’s going to be out for quite a while,” Washington head coach Steve Sarkisian said. “He came out with a good attitude and he’s doing all the conditioning work and all the fundamental stuff from a footwork standpoint. But, he won’t be catching balls here for a little while.”
When asked if it would be weeks or months before Seferian-Jenkins’ return, Sarkisian said he didn’t know.
“I’m hoping it would be days, but I really don’t know.”
Sarkisian said he would know more by the end of the week.
Seferian-Jenkins own most school receiving records for tight ends despite having played just two seasons. He was named a preseason All-American by numerous media outlets.
Last season, he was one of three finalists for the John Mackey Award, which goes to the nation’s best tight end. He was also second on the team to Kasen Williams last season with 69 receptions for 852 yards.
If Seferian-Jenkins’ injury keeps him out, Washington will turn to two other tight ends who combined for six catches last season.
The more experienced of the two is redshirt junior Michael Hartvigson. He has a frame similar to Seferian-Jenkins’ — Hartvigson is 6 foot 6, 257 pounds — but hasn’t been able to get rolling in either of his seasons as Seferian-Jenkins’ backup.
Hartvigson had six catches for 55 yards last year after pulling in eight passes for 30 yards and a touchdown his redshirt freshman season.
Obviously, his pass-catching opportunities are limited with Seferian-Jenkins in the fold. Yet, more was expected from Hartvigson.
“I’m going to try to rebound now and keep on elevating my game,” Hartvigson said Monday. “Austin’s a good player, but at the same time, this isn’t tennis. It takes all the O-line, all 11 guys on the field. Our job is just to contribute whether it’s blocking or catching the ball. Anything we can do to help the team out.”
He and converted receiver Josh Perkins are the backup tight ends. Perkins was working with the No. 1 offense Tuesday in Seferian-Jenkins’ place. Washington had shifted Evan Hudson, who caught five passes for 31 yards last season, to the defensive line at the start of fall camp. Sarkisian said he’s been impressed with Hudson on the defensive line and expected to decide after looking at Tuesday’s practice if Hudson would stay there.
Perkins made a nice catch up the seam Tuesday. As a former receiver, he’s much lighter than Seferian-Jenkins and Hartvigson, but is likely faster. Perkins weights just 224 pounds.
“I just say, when they call my number, I’ve just got to make plays.,” Perkins, a redshirt sophomore, said Monday. “I’m not going to be Austin, I’m not going to try to be Austin, I’m going to try to be me.”
Washington will hope that’s enough until Seferian-Jenkins returns.