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Hilmar's Costa has torn ACL, will miss season

Doctors have found another tear of the anterior cruciate ligament in Oregon quarterback Nathan Costa's left knee.

Costa had surgery Wednesday to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and that's when doctors found the ACL tear, The (Portland) Oregonian reported on its Web site on Thursday.

The ACL was repaired, but the former Hilmar star will not play for the Ducks this season.

That the doctors found extensive damage to Costa's knee is no surprise. On Tuesday, Costa said that the MRI results were not conclusive because of existing scar tissue and that the extent of his injury wouldn't be known until they started poking around inside his knee.

"They don't know what they'll have to do," Costa said in an interview with the Sun-Star on Tuesday morning. "The MRI wasn't clear. It was shady because of all the scar tissue.

"They are sure I tore my meniscus pretty bad, but at this point they're unsure about what else might be going on."

Wednesday's surgery was Costa's third -- all on that tricky left knee. Costa, who tore his ACL during storied career at Hilmar High and again last fall, suffered the injury in a non-contact situation last week.

He was decelerating after about a 10-yard run when he felt it pop. He missed the final few days of fall camp, including last Friday's scrimmage. He was projected to start Saturday's season-opener against Washington.

Costa could be eligible for a medical redshirt -- extending a college career that has been marred by injury.

"It's something we've talked about," Costa said. "It's something I can pursue if I want to. But that'll come later on down the road when I'm a senior ... If I want it."

For now, Costa is focused on the coming months (rehab) and next season. He is determined to win back the starting job he forfeited to Justin Roper because of injury.

"I expect it to be the same as last time and the time before that," Costa said of the rehabilitation process. "I don't there to be any major problems.

"I'm going to work my ass off and come back even stronger."

Editor's note: Read Friday's Merced Sun-Star for full coverage.