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Surgery leaves Stull out indefinitely

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Pitt quarterback Bill Stull is out indefinitely after requiring surgery today to repair torn ligaments in the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.

“We feel very disappointed for Billy,” Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt said. “He worked incredibly hard during the off-season to earn the starting job and those efforts showed in his strong play last night. Knowing Billy, he will be very diligent in his rehabilitation and be back as soon as possible.”

The injury forced Stull to leave in the third quarter of Saturday’s season-opening 27-3 victory over Eastern Michigan at Heinz Field. An Eagles defender tried to strip the ball from him, but pulled the thumb backward instead.

Redshirt freshman Kevan Smith replaced Stull, and completed 2 of 4 passes for 18 yards. Wannstedt, however, declined to name a starter for Saturday, when the Panthers (1-0) play Grambling State (1-0) at Heinz Field. Freshman Pat Bostick is Pitt’s only other scholarship quarterback.

“We will work this week to get Kevan Smith and Pat Bostick ready to play against Grambling,” Wannstedt said. “Their performances at practice this week will determine our starter for Saturday.”

A 6-foot-2, 200-pound junior, Stull completed 14 of 20 passes for 177 yards and a touchdown in his debut as the Panthers’ starter. Pitt was leading, 21-3, when he left the game with 5:50 to play in the third quarter.

Stull won the job despite suffering another thumb injury in training camp Aug. 10, when he hit the same thumb off a teammate’s helmet and opened a crescent-shaped cut. The wound required five stitches, but Stull missed only one practice and returned wearing a glove for better grip. Stull wasn’t wearing the glove against Eastern Michigan.

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