GREENSBORO - Donald Bowens, who was N.C. State's leading receiver in 2007, is out at least until October while recovering from knee surgery, coach Tom O'Brien said at the ACC media kickoff.
Bowens missed the 2008 season because of a stress fracture in his back and missed spring practice because of the knee injury.
O'Brien said wide receiver still should be a position of strength for N.C. State with veterans Owen Spencer, Jarvis Williams and T.J. Graham returning.
"There's some guys there that have stepped to the front," O'Brien said.
Bowens made 41 catches for team highs of 598 yards and three touchdowns in 2007. O'Brien said he will face the same challenges as running back Toney Baker did last year in getting back on the field after returning from injury.
Baker missed all but one game of the 2007 season and the entire 2008 season because of a knee injury, but is back in 2009.
"To get back on the field, (Bowens) has got to be a functional player," O'Brien said.