BLACKSBURG — All-Atlantic Coast Conference tight end James Mitchell of Virginia Tech will miss the rest of the season after suffering a knee injury in Saturday’s win over Middle Tennessee.
Hokies coach Justin Fuente said Monday that an MRI revealed damage to the Union alum’s right knee that will require surgery.
“I’m disappointed for him. What a great leader, a great young man,” Fuente said during his weekly news conference. “I know how much this football team means to him and that’s immediately where his thoughts went.”
Mitchell was hurt when he took a low hit on a run from the 2-yard line during the second quarter of the Hokies’ 35-14 win. In his postgame news conference Fuente said he was told that his team’s most versatile offensive weapon was “fine.”
Mitchell, a preseason All-ACC first-teamer in his fourth season at Virginia Tech, has 52 catches with 838 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions for his career. He also has rushed for five TDs.
He had three catches for 36 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown, in the season-opening win over No. 21 North Carolina and had two receptions for 6 yards against the Blue Raiders.
Mitchell considered his career options after the 2020 season before deciding to return to Virginia Tech. Fuente noted Monday that that’s a discussion for another day.
“He still has decisions that he can make and we don’t need to worry about that right now. Right now, it’s about James getting healthy,” the coach said.
“I think the world of James Mitchell and his family. Right now his thoughts are centered on this football team, having surgery and getting healthy. Then when we get down the road, we’ll talk about all of those things.”
The No. 15 Hokies (2-0) make their first road trip of the season Saturday when they visit longtime rival West Virginia (1-1).
The teams play for the Black Diamond Trophy, which the Hokies have held since beating the Mountaineers 31-24 on Sept. 3, 2017, at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. The teams have played 52 times — the first meeting was in 1912 — and West Virginia leads the series 28-23-1.
Kickoff in Morgantown is set for noon.
“I know that the environment will be electric and emotions will run high,” Fuente said. “We’re excited for it, we’re excited for the opportunity, the challenge to take this team on the road in a hostile environment and see how we can perform.
“This is part of why you want to play the game, to have a chance to go play these types of games. We’re excited to be a part of it.”