Greenwich High School senior quarterback Liam O’Neil will start the season on the sideline due to a fractured right index finger. O’Neil sustained the injury during the Cardinals’ practice on Saturday. O’Neil, whose first start for the Cardinals came during his sophomore season, injured the index finger on his throwing hand while serving as the holder on point-after attempts on Saturday. He is also the team’s backup holder.
O’Neil, who also has a slight displacement in the finger, will be operated on by Dr. Robert Hotchkiss at the Hospital for Special Surgery on the upper east side in Manhattan on Monday afternoon. Hotchkiss serves as one of the team doctors for the New York Giants. Recovery time for such an injury is expected to be five to six weeks. The 6-foot-2 O’Neil is coming off an impressive junior season that saw him pass for more than 800 yards despite missing the team’s first three games due to a concussion.
Looking sharp in the preseason, O’Neil seemed like he was primed for another strong season. In the Cards’ scrimmages against national power Don Bosco Prep, Iona Prep and Hamden he completed 34-of-59 passes for 537 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception.
Junior Jose Melo, who started the first three games in O’Neil’s absence last season, is the Cardinals’ backup quarterback. However, he’s a bit banged up, so Greenwich may turn to the versatile Alex McMurray to run the offense. McMurray, who can throw the ball, is proficient at running the Wildcat, and did so efffectively in Greenwich’s recent scrimmage against Masuk. If O’Neil makes his way back in five to six weeks, he will obviously be available for what the Cardinals hope, is a push toward the postseason.
Greenwich, which lost to Staples, 31-27, in the FCIAC championship game last season, opens its season on the road Friday night at 7 p.m. against Ridgefield.