Running back Jared Turcotte had knee surgery to repair a torn meniscus two weeks ago after a second season at the University of Maine when injuries hampered his production on the field.

Turcotte was averaging 83.2 yards per game before disappearing from the lineup at Rhode Island on Oct. 23. He missed the last four games of the season.

“Just running on it hurt,” said Turcotte. “The pounding of running and being a back where everyone is going for your legs trying to make tackles it was painful.

“It was always week to week, trying to come back for this game, that game. Then we decided it was best to just stop playing (for the season.)”

After a breakout freshman season in 2008 when he helped Maine reach the playoffs with a team-high 625 rushing yards, Turcotte missed all of 2009 because of two surgeries for a sports hernia.

He was expected to be an important part of the offense this season, but the effects of an injury became apparent as early as the first week of October.

“He was laboring,” said Coach Jack Cosgrove. “Even going back to 2008, there were times he didn’t practice and (still) played. At Northern Iowa (in the playoffs that year), we didn’t use him a lot. He was really, really struggling.

“That offseason we rebuilt him for what should’ve been a great 2009.”

Instead, Turcotte had a sports hernia that required two operations and kept him from playing a down that season.

“This is kind of getting to be really unfortunate for everybody,” said Cosgrove. “The sports hernia comes in, we lost him last year. Then this year the knee problem surfaces again.

“As a tailback or back, it’s those explosive, sharp cuts they make. It’s really prevented him from being the player we thought coming out of 2008, the guy we could have given 25 carries a game, a workhorse back. It hasn’t happened.”

On the bright side, Turcotte said the surgery went well.

“I walked out of the operating room, really,” he said. “I didn’t have much of my meniscus in there, so there’s not much now. I tore a little more of the same meniscus I had torn before.”

His plan is to recover fully and put together the kind of season he’s been waiting for during his senior year.

“We’ll see what my body allows me to do, but that’s the goal. That’s what I’m working for,” said Turcotte. “I’m not going to ignore my body and kill myself. I love the game and am going to play as hard as I can.

“But I’ll try and limit the wear and tear on that knee joint. We’ll let the wear and tear happen when I’m out there on the field and not in the weight room.”

Hopes are high for a full recovery.

“This is certainly an incredibly important offseason for him in rehab,” said Cosgrove. “It wasn’t a major surgery. He’ll be back in the winter program and won’t be knocked out of the lineup for spring football.

“I’m optimistic at this point things will work out. Hopefully we’ll find out in a positive sense he can be a key contributor next year.”

Turcotte finished his last fall semester final exam Monday and will celebrate Christmas with his wife and infant daughter.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Junior guard Renee Nicholas of Sebago was named Maine Women’s Basketball Coaches Association player of the week, and freshman guard Erin McNamara was named New England Women’s Basketball Association rookie of the week.

Nicholas helped USM (5-4) to a pair of wins last week. She had 17 points in a 89-67 victory against Salem State and 12 points in a 65-57 win against Keene State.

McNamara averaged 8.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists in the two games.

The Huskies don’t play again until Dec. 30 against Occidental College at the Disneyland Classic in Anaheim, Calif.

BOWDOIN

Senior men’s hockey co-captain Kyle Shearer-Hardy was named New England Small College Athletic Conference player of the week after scoring three goals to lead Bowdoin to wins in consecutive nights over Colby last weekend.

In Game 1, he scored the Polar Bears’ first two goals in a 3-2 win; in Game 2, sparked a rally from a five-goal deficit in Bowdoin’s 6-5 win.

Shearer-Hardy was a Division III first-team All-American last season and leads all defensemen in scoring by a half-point at 1.86 points per game.

Men’s soccer standout Sean Bishop was named a first-team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Bishop, a junior back, helped lead the Polar Bears to their best season with 15 wins and a trip to the NCAA semifinals.

ST. JOSEPH’S

Thirty-three athletes visited the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center in Portland last week, spreading holiday cheer.

Several varsity teams raised funds for gifts for the children.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC

The Seawolves’ baseball team will conduct a winter clinic Dec. 27-31 for kids ages 9-12.

Coach Phil Desjardins and assistant Keil Martin will lead the clinic, focusing on hitting, fielding, pitching and running.

For more information, contact the athletic department at 741-5927 or [email protected] Information and registration forms also are available online at www.gosmccseawolves.com.

Staff Writer Jenn Menendez can be contacted at 791-6426 or at:

[email protected]