SAN JOSE, Calif. — Saturday, Josh Allen did something for the first time since injuring his throwing shoulder at Air Force on Nov. 11. No, not play in a game. Speak with media.
Allen had not been available for interviews at Wyoming’s final two media days of the regular season because he was rehabbing, UW athletics said. Allen warmed up before Wyoming’s loss Saturday at San Jose State, another first since his injury, but was only available on an “emergency” basis, head coach Craig Bohl said.
“It’s getting better,” Allen said of the injury. “Still some tenderness. It’s hurting a little bit when I throw, but day by day, I feel it get better. As much as I wanted to be out there with my teammates and my brothers, it’s just in the team’s best interest that I sit this one out. It’s tough sitting back and watching the team perform how they did.”
Bohl said Allen would have been medically cleared to play, but there would have been limitations.
“And those things that we were going to ask him to do, we didn’t feel like was going to give us a chance to win,” Bohl said. “So that was a decision that was made before the game. The situation to play him really never arose, and I’m firm with that decision.”
In his second start since 2015, junior Nick Smith completed less than half of his passes and was intercepted twice.
Allen did not give definitive answers on whether he would leave after the season for the NFL — Bohl has said he doesn’t expect Allen back in 2018 — or whether he will play in Wyoming’s bowl game, saying he would like to if he’s at 100 percent.
Allen said he knew before warming up Saturday that he would not be playing. He threw warmup tosses of significant length but did not go through every pregame warmup with Smith and backup Nick Szpor.
“I just hadn’t thrown in a couple days and went out there and decided to try to test it a little bit to see if I could maybe sneak in last second,” Allen said. “But it’s really up to the coaching, up to the trainers and ultimately me describing how well I feel and if I can take a hit or take contact. But that just wasn’t the case.”
Given Allen’s future as a potential first-round draft pick, and the lack of implications Saturday’s game held on the Mountain Division championship or Wyoming’s bowl eligibility, there was perhaps less pressure than usual to rush Allen back. However, Bohl said in his weekly news conference that Allen would play if he could give the team its best chance to win.
“Coach Bohl is extremely adamant on making sure that I’m protecting myself, and he’s not going to put me in a situation where I can go out there and injury myself more,” Allen said. “He’s being very cautious. We’re all being very cautious, but it just hurts.”
Allen’s injury, which his mother said on Facebook was an AC sprain, has forced him to miss consecutive games after making 24 straight starts for Wyoming.
“Trust me, I was itching to get back on that field,” Allen said, “and it sucks watching. It does. ... You don’t know how good you have it until it’s gone, and that’s kind of the feeling I have right now, but I know I’ll be back. Hopefully we’ve got one more — at least one more with my brothers.”