AMES — Iowa State all-Big 12 linebacker Jake Knott finally met an injury he couldn’t lick.
Or beat with acute pain management.
Cyclone Coach Paul Rhoads said in Monday’s news conference the face of his program was undergoing regular season-ending surgery on his left shoulder in Chicago.
“I do not expect him to be available to us for the remainder of the season,” said Rhoads, whose team (5-3, 2-3) faces Oklahoma (5-2, 3-1) at 11 a.m. Saturday.
It’s a jolt — both psychically and physically to a defense ranked 26th nationally in stinginess at 19.8 points allowed per game.
“Anything you can name, that’s what Jake brought us,” nickel back Deon Broomfield said. “It’s going to be a big hit for us, no doubt, but we’re going to bounce back.”
Knott, who sustained the injury in the Oklahoma State loss, will address the situation in a 4:45 p.m. Wednesday news conference at the Jacobson Building.
Rhoads did not rule out a possible return for a bowl game — if the Cyclones qualify for the third time in four seasons.
“It just depends on what they find,” Rhoads said.
Knott, an NFL prospect, seemed circumspect during a short post-Baylor win session with reporters Saturday — less than an hour after notching 11 tackles and a forced fumble while wearing a brace underneath his uniform.
“I’m going to take everything day-by-day,” he said repeatedly.
Monday, that took him to Chicago.
Over a four-year ISU career, it lifted him from unheralded recruit to program standard-bearer.
Knott has made 347 tackles in his celebrated career — sixth all-time in school history.
He ranks fourth nationally in solo stops this season at 6.88 per game.
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One of the things I’m always thinking is, ‘I’ve got to be the best, but I’ll never be the best,‘ — that kind of a thing,” Knott said in a late summer interview with the Gazette. “So I’ve got to work all the time; whatever I’ve got to do.”
“Tremendous numbers from a production standpoint and not just in the weekly grind,” Rhoads said. “I’m talking about big plays, too. What a neat way to go out: Big 12 defensive player of the week for his play against the Baylor Bears. But big-play interceptions, caused fumbles, recovered fumbles; drive-stopping tackles and things like that. ... A young man who really helped jump start this era of Cyclone football.”
His selflessness inspired others, including fellow linebacker Jeremiah George.
“When we talk about being all in and committing yourself to the team, he’s battling every play, in pain,” George said. “And he’s not doing it for himself. He’s doing it for Cyclone Nation. All those people at Jack Trice Stadium and all these guys on this roster. I commend him for that. And I respect him and love that guy.”
The feeling’s mutual.
For George. For all the Cyclones. For their burgeoning fan base.“What gets you through tough times and the extra hours and all that stuff is thinking, ‘I don’t care what anybody else says, I’m going to show you I’m better than you,’’” Knott said in that late summer interview. “I think it’s a good attitude to have at Iowa State.”