University at Buffalo junior quarterback Joe Licata played all of last season with a torn hip labrum and a bone impingement he confirmed on Wednesday.
The Williamsville South product who started all 13 games in 2013, said he suffered the injury during training camp last summer in early August. Licata will be limited for spring practice which started Wednesday at the Buffalo Bills Fieldhouse and will miss the annual Blue/White Game on April 19.
Licata had surgery on Jan. 7.
“I went into the training room and thought it was a groin injury maybe or a hip flexor,” said Licata, who is nearly in month three of the 4-6 month recovery process. “It didn’t get any better and it kept getting worse. I took a couple of helmet hits to the hip.”
A month after the injury, UB’s trainers realized it wasn’t a hip flexor but a hip labrum injury. Doctors confirmed the diagnosis after the Bulls bowl game loss to San Diego State, and Licata underwent surgery.
“It hurt but I took a couple of Advil before the game,” he said. “I iced it down afterwards and I had it wrapped during games. It was wrapped for practices. I was smart about it. It’s the price you pay for touchdowns.”
UB coach Jeff Quinn said he isn’t worried about Licata missing spring workouts.
“He certainly has a sharp mind and has a handle on the offense,” Quinn said. “Joe is still going to be the guy that we develop into being an even better quarterback than he was a year ago.”
Licata was limited to sideline work as were fullback Boomer Brock and right guard Dillon Guy, a pair of seniors, sophomore offensive lineman Dan Collura and defensive linemen Zach Smekal and tailback Joe Schillace, who are redshirt freshmen.
Also, junior linebacker Nick Gilbo left practice with an apparent injury to his left knee which was wrapped heavily in ice.
Junior Tony Daniel took snaps with the first unit while sophomore Collin Michael was with the second team.
“We were a little bit off with our timing but that’s part of this,” Quinn said. “Spring ball is about repetition and repetition is the mother of learning and I think our kids are only going to get better.”
Licata liked what he saw from the sidelines.
“They looked good, it’s a great opportunity for them to get more reps during the spring,” he said. “It’s weird to watch the backside of it, but I get to help coach those guys up and I think Tony did a great job today as did Collin.”
Early enrollees Juwan Jackson and offense lineman Matt Murphy participated in practice on Wednesday. Jackson is a 6-foot-4, 215-pound linebacker from Newark N.J., while the 6-7, 295-pound Murphy hails from London, England. Both players enrolled in January. … The Bulls are off today but will resume practice on Friday at UB Stadium.