John Sommers II
No one seems to know who to expect to suit up when Florida takes on South Carolina.
The injury report for Florida's Saturday showdown with South Carolina is one of the most mystifying in years: Marcus Lattimore, South Carolina's most important player, played sparingly against LSU, and has a bruised hip; the entirety of the Carolina roster was seemingly stricken with the flu on Wednesday; a slew of Gators had injury woes keep or knock them out of last Saturday's game with Vanderbilt. It's hard to know what the truth is.
So we're not going to pretend to know the truth over here; we're just going to slap some numbers on some players and explain what happens if they don't play.
Injury: Lattimore suffered a bruised hip against LSU. He did not practice on Wednesday, with Steve Spurrier saying he didn't know how to list Lattimore for Saturday, but did practice today.
Importance: Oh, Lattimore just accounts for almost 30 percent of South Carolina's offense. No biggie.
Likely Replacement: Kenny Miles, a senior running back has just 100 yards on the year, but had 626 rushing yards as a freshman in 2009, or freshman Mike Davis (yep, that one), who has 13 collegiate carries. (Brandon Wilds, who ran for 120 yards against Florida in 2011, has been out with an ankle injury in 2012, and is likely to redshirt.)
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 60 percent. A bruised hip ain't the best injury for a guy who gets hit on every play and needs to swivel hips to cut.
Injury: Easley's been dealing with knee pain since returning from ACL surgery this fall, has missed games with Kentucky and Vanderbilt because of it, and is reportedly wearing a knee brace this week. Easley did start against LSU, but he didn't record a tackle against the Tigers.
Importance: Florida likes having Easley up front, and he's probably the quickest lineman the Gators have. There was a noticeable lack of rush up front against Vanderbilt; Easley might have helped some in that respect.
Likely Replacement: Jonathan Bullard. He's been the starter for Easley twice now, and acquitted himself especially nicely in Nashville, looking like a solid player in run support.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 40 percent. Easley hasn't quite been himself all year, though he's certainly been talking like he is.
Injury: Clowney was reportedly one of many South Carolina players who had the flu yesterday. He practiced on Thursday and should play, however.
Importance: He's probably the best defensive end in college football, so...
Likely Replacement: Devin Taylor? He could swap over from the other end position. But Clowney's playing, so this really isn't an issue.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 95 percent. But given how LSU handled Clowney, it might not be that big an issue.
Injury: Pat Dooley reported that the injury that forced Harrison out of action against Vanderbilt was a dislocated elbow, but he's been practicing with a brace on it.
Importance: Harrison's probably the offensive lineman with the biggest drop-off to his backup, because Sam Robey inspires no one and has never started a game at Florida. But Robey was okay against Vanderbilt, and the line's depth has been a strength all season.
Likely Replacement: Robey, who has appeared in more than 30 games for the Gators.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 60 percent. Harrison having to snap the ball with a dinged-up elbow is a bad thing, but elbows are less important than forearms in offensive line play.
Injury: I believe Dooley's report of a concussion, and I've seen reports that suggest Nixon hasn't practiced this week, which would be consistent with a concussion.
Importance: The drop-off from Nixon's play to D.J. Humphries' play is a small one, but I think I'd rather have a senior matching up against Clowney than a freshman.
Likely Replacement: Humphries, who has been game in action this year but has not faced someone as menacing as Clowney is in his life.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 30 percent. Concussions don't go away in a week.
Injury: Some eye something? On Monday, Will Muschamp explained the injury that kept Wilson home in Gainesville last weekend as something that happened with Wilson's helmet in practice last week, but said he "should be fine." I'm still of the opinion that Wilson might have been serving an unannounced suspension, because I can't figure out what eye injury would prevent a player from flying, even if he's not going to play.
Importance: Of Florida's five starting linemen, Wilson is the least important: He plays left guard, the least important position on this line, and has been the least effective of those starters this year.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 74 percent. We don't even know what injury he has, but he'll probably play.
Injury: Jenkins is still recovering from the broken thumb he sustained against Texas A&M, and also from the hamstring injury that happened against LSU. He didn't play against Vanderbilt, but reportedly has a smaller cast than the large one that covered most of his forearm against LSU this week.
Importance: Missing Jenkins was supposed to be a big deal after he went out against A&M, but Antonio Morrison's stepped up in his absence.
Likely Replacement: Morrison, who only led Florida in tackles against Vanderbilt.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 59 percent. Jenkins isn't going to be the Jelani we hoped for at the beginning of this season, but he'll probably play, and decently, in limited snaps.
Injury: Quarles will not travel to Florida thanks to a suspension and an injury, Steve Spurrier announced Thursday.
Importance: Quarles has 30 tackles, six tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks on the season. So he's important.
Likely Replacement: I have no clue; I don't run a South Carolina blog.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: Zero percent. THAT WAS EASY.
Injury: Shaw's had multiple concussions in his career, and his interception against LSU was one of the worst of the season by any quarterback. But that doesn't mean he has a concussion.
Importance: Spurrier hates all of his quarterbacks equally, so whatever.
Likely Replacement: Dylan Thompson, who only threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns against East Carolina earlier this year.
Chance of Being 100 Percent: 90 percent. As for whether that's a good thing, who knows?