Arizona receiver Juron Criner had missed two days of practice before Wildcat Sports Report said Wednesday afternoon that the Wildcats' star player didn't even get on the plane to play the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Anthony Gimino of the Tucson Citizen could not confirm the report, but said that a spokesman for the team told him that head coach Mike Stoops wouldn't comment on Criner until Thursday.
As was the case this summer, when wild rumors swirled about Criner, the situation resolved itself when the the team said he had been dealing with the illness of his mother. Still, Criner did miss an ESPN tour because of his own sickness, and whether that case is related is, well, up to speculation, I suppose.
That doesn't mean we'll speculate here.
For the short term, this means guys like Dan Buckner will need to step up. Other receivers will have the opportunity to shine, and though it's Buckner with the most potential to do so, that doesn't mean someone else won't take advantage.
Sliding into the rotations could be Gino Crump and Austin Hill, who could compliment David Roberts, David Douglas, Richard Morrison and Buckner.
And in the long term? We can only hope that Criner's illness isn't a serious health issue. Again, it seems to be sticky situation and I'm more skeptical about it than I would be normally -- let's just say that if he had a cold, this wouldn't even be an topic of discussion.
After all, Criner hasn't been made available to the media since his first issue in the summer. So we can only wait and see what transpires, though I don't think it's as big of a blow to the Wildcats on the football field as some might believe.