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Ronald Powell Has Torn ACL, Will Miss 4-6 Months

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April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (23) runs away from Ronald Powell (7) during the first half of the Florida spring game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE
April 7, 2012; Gainesville FL, USA; Florida Gators running back Mike Gillislee (23) runs away from Ronald Powell (7) during the first half of the Florida spring game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

Ronald Powell was the crown jewel of Florida's superb 2010 recruiting class, one of the nation's best defenders and a guy who aced the eye test in a split second. But Powell's struggled to make a consistent impact with the Gators, only coming on late last fall and, by many accounts, in this year's spring practice. That progress got sideswiped by fate on Saturday, however, as Powell suffered a torn ACL injury in his left knee, and will miss four to six months, according to GatorZone's Scott Carter.

Powell left the 2012 Orange and Blue Debut in the first half after apparently sustaining a knee injury, and did not return to the game. No further information was made available about his injury at that time, with Will Muschamp holding out hope that it would be no more than a sprain. That wasn't the case.

"Ronald is in good spirits and is very eager to do whatever is necessary to have a healthy, speedy recovery," Muschamp said Monday morning. "He has already started with prehab and once the swelling goes down and he regains his range of motion, he will have the surgery."

Powell missing four to six months would put his timetable for return at the beginning of fall practice in August at best and the beginning of Florida's October slate at worst, and he could be far from 100 percent for the fall even if he can return to the Gators swiftly.

Powell started 12 games in 2011, and accumulate 32 tackles and a team-high six sacks. His replacement at the Buck position could be anyone from Michael Taylor to early enrollee Antonio Morrison, one of the stars of the spring, to incoming freshmen Dante Fowler or Alex McCalister. Without Powell, possibly the best pure talent on Florida's roster, the Gators' defense could be severely diminished this fall.