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Keith Smith's knee injury dampers victory

First, Ralph Bolden.

Now, Keith Smith?

Purdue lost leading rusher Bolden to a torn anterior cruciate ligament last spring, and top receiver Smith injured his right knee during Purdue's 31-21 victory over Western Illinois Saturday and finished the game with the leg in a brace and on crutches.

No immediate word on the severity of the injury, but it doesn't seem promising after listening to coach Danny Hope and players after the game.

Hope said he was "not optimistic," considering that Smith was injured near Western Illinois' sideline and the trainers took him directly to the locker room instead of bringing him to Purdue's sideline first.

If this is something severe, which it appears to be, it's a huge blow to Purdue's offense.

We heard all about how deep and talented the receiving corps was before the season started, but Smith was the go-to, dependable guy.

Who takes that role now? Justin Siller still is learning the nuances of the position. Cortez Smith injured his ankle during the game, and there's no word if he'll play next week. The rest of the receiving corps is underclassmen with potential but no proven results. I like the sure hands of senior tight end Kyle Adams, who sometimes lines up in the slot.

But it could be a matter of which player quarterback Robert Marve feels most comfortable with. Keith Smith was that guy, so now Marve has some things to figure out.

While still learning to get the offense in rhythm.