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Sun Devils crippled by early spring injuries

The Sun Devils are riding a wave of optimism this spring, returning 19 starters and appearing in several preseason polls ranked in the 20s.

However, some hope crashed this week after potentially serious injuries to team leaders T.J. Simpson and Omar Bolden.

Simpson, the team’s leading receiver in 2010, was carted off the field Thursday after sustaining what may be a torn anterior cruciate ligament.

Bolden went down just two days later in a Saturday scrimmage with what looked like a serious knee injury.

Bolden’s injury could be particularly painful, especially after he could have declared for the 2011 NFL Draft following an All-Pac-10 First-Team appearance last year.

He said he hasn’t contemplated going pro since he chose to stay in school, but a potentially serious injury could bring new perspective.

“I’m not really focused on that,” the four-year starter said last week. “My focus is here on this field.”

Bolden has a history of knee problems, missing all but four games of the 2009 season with a similar injury.

He had three interceptions, 52 tackles and seven pass break-ups last season and was a team leader on defense during the Sun Devils underwhelming 6-6 season.

Bolden said in an interview with The Arizona Republic he wanted to return to school to bring ASU the first ever Pac-12 Championship and to play in a Rose Bowl.

The Sun Devils will now wait out the severity of his injury and hope the optimism surrounding the team this year translates into good fortune for Bolden.