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OU's Corey Nelson to fill void left by injured Travis Lewis

BY MIKE BALDWIN, Staff Writer, Published: August 10, 2011

NORMAN — Losing a player selected the preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is a setback, but Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops is confident the Sooners have players that will step up.

Senior weakside linebacker Travis Lewis is projected to be sidelined eight weeks with a cracked bone in his big left toe he suffered at Monday's practice.

“There's no way around it, it's an incredible blow to us,” Stoops said. “I'm not going to deny that. Travis is a great player. It definitely makes a difference. But Corey (Nelson) is a guy who has the ability to step up and play there.”

Lewis' backup last season, Nelson was being auditioned as the “Roy-backer,” a hybrid nickel back position named after former OU star Roy Williams. Nelson now moves back to the position he played last season.

“He played incredibly well as a freshman. And everybody heard me rave about him in the spring,” Stoops said. “He's up to and he will meet the challenge. He has that kind of personality and that kind of make-up.”

Lewis fractured a small round bone called the sesamoid bone in his big left toe.

“It's not any of his major weight bearing (bones),” Stoops said. “It's a little small bone in the middle of your ligament that you can crack.

“In fact, I cracked one my senior year and had to have it shot up (with numbing medicine) the entire year. But mine wasn't in the big toe, which is a little tougher to deal with. But it's not a stress fracture, none of those major bones.”

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