One of the top-ranked football teams in Illinois will be without one of its top players for the rest of the season.
Orion senior tight end/defensive end and Iowa commit Logan Lee suffered a Grade 3 lacerated spleen during Saturday's win over Morrison and will miss the final two weeks as well as the postseason.
"It's very frustrating," Lee said. "The biggest thing is not being able to finish the season. It's not really hit me quite yet but it's just really tough going through it, not being able to be there for my team. I'll be on the sideline cheering them on but it's not going to be the same."
The injury occurred midway through the second quarter of Saturday's game when Lee landed hard on the football while diving for an attempted catch. He came out for a few plays but returned and finished the day with eight catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns while also adding three tackles, two for loss and one sack through three quarters.
"It was bothering me the whole time but I just thought it was bruised ribs," Lee said. "I wasn't really sure what was wrong. I knew something was but I thought it was minor."
Lee said he was in pain the rest of the day Saturday and Sunday but participated in a school-related choir event on Sunday. It wasn't until early Monday morning when he started vomiting that he went to the local emergency room. He was then taken by ambulance to Iowa City.
Lee didn't require surgery but said he has to avoid contact and excessive movement for about six to eight weeks. If it had been a Grade 4 laceration, Lee would have needed surgery. He expects to be discharged from the hospital today.
"I'm very fortunate we caught it so early," Lee said. "It could have been a lot worse and I'm very lucky we were able to catch it so early."
It's a tough way for Lee to end his senior season. He compiled 26 catches for 442 yards and 10 touchdowns and had 46 tackles, 19.5 for loss and 14 sacks on defense, helping the Chargers to a 7-0 record and No. 2 ranking in Class 2A.
"We're disappointed for him. Nobody works as hard as he does and is as committed to this program as he is," Orion head coach Chip Filler said. "To have something like this happen to him, sometimes life just isn't fair."
Though the Chargers lose a big piece of their team, they are still confident they can have a strong run in the postseason thanks to a balanced offense and a stout defense.
"We've got a deep team, we've got a talented team," Filler said. "We have a team, not just an individual so we're going to rally behind that and play good football. That's about all we can do. It stinks for our program and for our kids and for Logan in particular but we're going to grow from this. Everything happens for a reason so there's a bigger plan for us and we're going to tie our shoes up a little bit tighter and we're going to move forward."
Once Lee recovers, he hopes to wrestle this winter and throw shot put and discus this spring. Then he will prepare to join the Iowa football team.
"I'm going to do whatever I can to get back as quickly and healthily as possible and I'm going to use this as motivation for wrestling season," said Lee, who won a state wrestling title at 220 pounds as a sophomore. "I'm very competitive and I just want to continue to stay competitive and being able to compete in wrestling and shot and discus will be huge for me. I just really want to be able to compete with people throughout the year."
He received messages during the day Monday from members of the Iowa coaching and recruiting staff as well as from friends and family.
"It's huge being able to have a support system," Lee said. "They're going to help me through the process. It's going to be really tough but they're going to help me through it."