Boston College senior linebacker Brian Toal would have missed not just spring drills but the entire season had he not undergone offseason surgery four weeks ago to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder, according to his father, Greg Toal Sr.
Reached at his home in Wyckoff, N.J., yesterday, Greg Toal Sr. said he would advocate his son playing this season only if his shoulder is 100 percent healed.
"He hasn't been healthy since his freshman year and I'd like to see him go the full year healthy," said Toal, who said his son's operation, which was performed March 6 by Russ Warren, team physician for the New York Giants, was twice delayed when Brian suffered an outbreak of psoriasis in January and underwent an appendectomy in February.
Toal stopped short of saying he wanted his son to be redshirted, saying he preferred to see the results of his son's rehab before sitting down with BC coach Jeff Jagodzinski to discuss his son's options.
"We just want him to be at full strength when he plays again, that's all, that's our No. 1 concern," said Toal, who coached his son at Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. "We are fortunate enough if that's not the case, we do have a redshirt year that he could take and I'm sure Coach Jagodzinski is going to want him to be at his best."
Toal reported that his son is making progress but faces an extensive rehab.
"Everything's good," he said. "Dr. Warren checked him out last week and he said the shoulder is stable and everything is going great."
For the second straight year, Toal will sit out spring drills; last year, he nursed a nerve injury on the side of his neck that took nine months to heal. Toal rebounded from that, only to get hurt again when he tore his labrum and damaged his rotator cuff last season against Clemson.
"He's missed quite a bit of weight training and he needs to catch up in a lot of ways," said his father. "If he's able to go, we'll let him go, but it really depends on what type of progress he makes."
Given Toal's medical history, this would be a pivotal season for his NFL aspirations. If he were redshirted, though, he would benefit from having not only an extra year of eligibility but an extra year to heal and strengthen his shoulder.
"I know he'll be chomping at the bit to get going again," said Greg Toal Sr. "Brian loves to play, but he just has to get healthy, that's the bottom line."
BC's Nick Larkin, a 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound senior defensive end from Cincinnati, was among 42 players named to the watch list for the 2007 Lott Trophy, awarded for defensive impact player of the year. Named after Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott, the award recognizes athletic performance as well as personal character.