Posted by Chip Patterson
Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder entered his senior year with hopes of putting a nice cap on a mostly successful career at Florida State. He was on the watch list for most major awards, and even was the ACC's endorsed Heisman candidate. Ponder has put up impressive numbers, throwing for 20 touchdowns and only 8 interceptions in 11 games of action. He will fall well short of last season's 2717 yards passing, but that is more a credit to Florida State's rapidly improving rushing attack. When all healthy, the three-man attack of Chris Thompson, Ty Jones, and Jermaine Thomas wore teams down and allowed Ponder to put together yet another efficient season.
But Ponder has struggled with an elbow injury in the last half of the season. On Friday, Ponder underwent his second surgical procedure in four weeks to remove scar tissue from the elbow. Last time, the doctors operated on his elbow and drained enough fluid to "fill a 16-ounce soda bottle." Despite the frustrations of undergoing another operation on the nagging injury, Ponder was all jokes for reporters on Tuesday. When asked about the operation, he informed reporters that his arm had been amputated.
"I'm probably going to put it on eBay," Ponder said of his right arm, which was concealed in a sling under a baggy sweatshirt. "See if I can make some money off it."
Ponder will miss all of Florida State's practices until arriving in Atlanta for the Chick Fil-A Bowl on December 26, then they will reevaluate the situation. If Ponder cannot go against South Carolina, E.J. Manuel will once again get the nod. Manuel filled in for Ponder earlier this season in the 16-13 last minute victory over Clemson. Ponder dressed, but watched from the sideline as Manuel helped lead the Seminoles on a victory drive that would eventually help clinch the Atlantic Division crown. When Ponder was a last-minute scratch for the ACC Championship Game against Virginia Tech, Manuel put together an impressive performance against a talented Hokies defense. It might have been a good experience for the sophomore signal-caller, especially if he has to face the SEC runner-up on New Years Eve in the Georgia Dome.