Men's Lacrosse

Syracuse loses Mellen and Forkin to season-ending injuries

Liam Sheehan | Staff Photographer

Sophomore defender Nick Mellen would have been the only returning starter from last year's unit, but he'll now miss the season.

Syracuse defenseman Nick Mellen will undergo season-ending surgery, head coach John Desko said Thursday. The sophomore preseason All-American had offseason shoulder surgery, but Desko declined to say if the two were related.

“He had an injury that he possibly could have limped through,” Desko said. “But I don’t think it was worth taking the chance.”

Junior attack J.T. Forkin will also undergo season-ending surgery, per Desko. He was not expected to contribute in a significant role this season.

Mellen was the only returning defenseman from last season’s Atlantic Coast Conference tournament-winning team due to the graduation of stalwarts Brandon Mullins and Jay McDermott. The West Genesee (New York) High School graduate was expected to cover the opposing team’s best offensive player in most games, Desko said.

The No. 6 Orange (1-0) now need to find its way with patchwork defensive line with Marcus Cunningham, last year’s fourth defender; Tyson Bomberry, who appeared in four total games prior to this season; and Scott Firman, a converted longstick midfielder. Freshman Nick DiPietro and redshirt freshman Andrew Helmer also played a lot defensively against Siena.

Last season, the 5-foot-9, 178-pound Mellen finished third on the team in groundballs (38) and tied for second in caused turnovers (14).

“There’s definitely always struggles when Mellen is out of the lineup,” Bomberry said. “He’s such a great player with his feet, just an all-around player.”

The news cut short any optimism around the Syracuse program that the Mellen would return this season.

“We’re hoping to get him back quickly,” Desko said at Media Day on Jan. 9.

“I think he’s pretty close to go. He’s hungry to get out there,” midfielder Matt Lane said on Jan. 26.

“I hope soon … but he’ll see the doctor and we’ll know more,” Desko said on Feb. 2.

“We have no idea how long he’ll be out,” Desko said on Feb. 9.

“He’ll be done for the season,” Desko said Thursday.

Mellen’s rehab, according to prior statements from teammates and Desko, progressed only to wall ball and running—no contact drills—before electing to have surgery.

Because he did not step foot on the field, Mellen will still have three years of eligibility remaining. It’s one of the only positives Syracuse can glean from a situation that started with hope and then only deepened in doubt.

“I don’t know,” Desko said on Feb. 9. “Maybe it was a little wishful thinking before.”

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