Houston DT Oliver aggravates knee injury in return

Houston Cougars defensive tackle Ed Oliver (10) on the sidelines while the Cougars play the Temple Owls in the first half at TDECU Stadium.Photo: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Houston All-American defensive tackle Ed Oliver's return from a knee injury did not last long.

Oliver, who has been sidelined for the previous four games, aggravated the knee injury in the first half of Friday's 52-31 loss to Memphis and did not return.

The reigning Outland Trophy winner is expected to miss two to three weeks, Cougars coach Major Applewhite said Friday night.

Such a timetable would allow Oliver to return to play in a bowl game, but there has been speculation throughout his injury that he may elect to shut it down for the season.

However, Applewhite and Oliver each indicated that the junior standout would be available to play in a bowl game if he was healthy.

"As far as I know, right now, yeah. I want to play every game," said Oliver, per the Houston Chronicle.

Asked if he thought Oliver has played his final college game, Applewhite responded: "I don't think so. That's not the impression I've ever gotten from him."

Houston fell to 8-4 overall and 5-3 in conference play after the loss to Memphis, which decided the AAC West Division champion.

Following Friday's game, Oliver posted on his Twitter account: "SETBACKS AFTER SETBACKS I'm just tryna be great that it Lord."

Last March, Oliver announced that the 2018 season would be his last season of college football, saying he would make himself for the 2019 NFL Draft.

In his most recent mock draft published Nov. 11, Rob Rang of NFLDraftScout.com projected Oliver to be the third overall pick in the draft. Rang called Oliver "arguably been the most consistent difference-maker in college football regardless of position."

It's been an unsettling season for Oliver. In addition to the knee injury, he had a heated exchange with Applewhite on the sidelines the team's last game against Tulane. Oliver later apologized for his actions.

Oliver did not have a sack in the first three games this season, and he had three in the last two games he played before suffering the injury.

In his first two seasons with the Cougars, the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Oliver had 39.5 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks. He has 13.5 tackles for loss and three sacks.

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