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OU football: Status of defensive end D.J. Ward will be announced Tuesday or Wednesday

The freshman has been sidelined with a “spleen issue.” It's not clear how serious Ward's condition is.
by Ryan Aber Published: August 12, 2013

NORMAN — Bob Stoops didn't say much Monday about the status of freshman defensive end D.J. Ward, but he didn't sound overly optimistic when addressing Ward's situation, either.

Ward hasn't practiced yet with the Sooners this fall as he's been suffering from a “spleen issue.”

Stoops said last week that Ward, his family and his doctors would have to make a decision about how to proceed.

Monday, Stoops said they had reached a decision.

“I'll announce that tomorrow or Wednesday,” he said.

It's not clear how serious Ward's condition is, though multiple sources said Ward was not at Saturday's scrimmage.

The loss of Ward for any length of time would be a blow to the depth of the defensive line that was already thin to begin with.

Chuka Ndulue is the only returning starter in the group and Ndulue is moving inside to tackle from defensive end.

Stoops did say that he was hopeful that junior college defensive tackle Quincy Russell had completed his academic work and that Russell would join the team when the school had the confirmation paperwork from his junior college.

“We're close,” Stoops said.

For Ward, things haven't been easy since he committed to the Sooners in April 2012.

Ward committed following a dominating junior season in Lawton, where he had 75 tackles and 11 sacks.

A few months after his commitment, though, his family decided to move to the Oklahoma City area.

Ward first enrolled at Douglass, receiving a hardship waiver from the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to gain immediate eligibility there.

After participating in a scrimmage with the Trojans, though, Ward transferred to Southmoore.

The OSSAA denied a second hardship waiver, ending Ward's senior season before it started.

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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