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Navy starting quarterback Zach Abey expected to play Nov. 2 game at Temple

Navy quarterback Zach Abey gains yards on a keeper in the second quarter against Central Florida at Navy Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday, Oct. 21, 2017. UCF won, 31-21.

PAUL W. GILLESPIE/BALTIMORE SUN/TNS

By BILL WAGNER | The Capital | Published: October 25, 2017

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Tribune News Service) — Head coach Ken Niumatalolo expressed confidence that starting quarterback Zach Abey will be healthy and available when Navy plays Temple at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Nov. 2.

Speaking on the American Athletic Conference weekly teleconference on Monday morning, Niumatalolo said Abey was “fine” and “he’ll be ready to go for Temple.”

Abey sustained a head injury during Saturday’s game against No. 18 Central Florida, going down early in the third quarter following a violent hit by linebacker Shaquem Griffin. After lying on the field for several minutes while being attended by team trainers, Abey walked off under his own power and did not return to the game.

Jim Berry, head athletic trainer for the Navy football program, took Abey into the locker room for evaluation. The Archbishop Spalding product returned to the sideline during the fourth quarter and was seen conversing with teammates and coaches.

“He came back and stood on the sideline and was coherent,” Niumatalolo said on Monday.

Abey has begun the concussion protocol, a process in which team doctors evaluate a player’s progress following any sort of head trauma. Niumatalolo could not say whether or not Abey was actually diagnosed with a concussion or was simply going through the protocol as a precaution.

“I stay out of that. Our medical people just tell me when he started his protocol. He has already started. Normally, if it’s a pretty bad deal it takes a while to even get into that,” Niumatalolo said. “I’m not the doctor so I just stay out of it. When he’s ready, he’s ready. I just wait for them to tell me that.”

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