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Tangen feared lost for season

Craig Tangen is an integral part of the North Dakota State University football team.

Craig Tangen is an integral part of the North Dakota State University football team. So much so that he's pictured front and center on the team's 2002 media guide.

But following a knee injury during a scrimmage Saturday, that image may be as close as the fifth-year senior tight end will come to seeing action this season.

"I don't know if it's the ACL or which CL is it," NDSU head coach Bob Babich said of the injury, "but it looks like ligament damage and a very serious injury."

An MRI will be conducted Monday, but according to Bison head trainer Scott Woken both the medial collateral and anterior cruciate ligaments in Tangen's right knee are likely "gone."

"The MRI is just to determine how soon surgery can be done," Woken said. "... We're 99 percent sure he's done for the year."

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Midway through the scrimmage -- two weeks before NDSU's season opener -- the 6-foot-4, 270 pound Tangen twisted his knee in what Babich called "an awkward way" while run-blocking.

Run-blocking is an area at which Tangen was expected to excel during this, his second season as a starter.

"We were planning to utilize him in the offensive scheme an awful lot," Babich said. "He had a fantastic summer, he was in fantastic shape, fall camp had gone really well for him. Not only is it a terrible thing for Craig Tangen, but losing him is going to be a terrible blow for our football team."

Tangen, from Grand Meadow, Minn., played in 32 games the previous three seasons. He totaled 8 catches for 117 yards and 4 rushes for 18 yards last season as a tight end and H-back.

His absence leaves the Bison with few options at tight end. Babich said junior Mike Wieser will assume the starting role, with freshmen Mike Piraino and Ryan Anderson listed as backups. The trio has one catch in five career games combined.

But before finding a replacement, NDSU's immediate concerns were with a devastated teammate.

"Injuries are a tough part of the game and I think our guys felt very bad for Craig," said Babich, noting Tangen would be eligible for a medical redshirt if so desired. "We probably had 50 plays after it happened, but even after the scrimmage it was a tough situation for our team."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Terry Vandrovec at (701) 241-5548

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