Update, 11:13 p.m. Thursday: Hargreaves suffered a bone bruise, according to Florida coach Will Muschamp, and will be day-to day.
Update from @CoachWMuschamp: "An MRI revealed that Vernon Hargreaves suffered a bone bruise and he is listed as day to day."— GatorZone Football (@GatorZoneFB) August 8, 2014
Obviously, this is great news, and I imagine I'm not nearly alone in being totally okay with the idea of Hargreaves taking as much time as possible to return to practice. Also worth noting: The "state secret"-style radio silence I alluded to at the bottom of this post originally didn't happen, huh? That's maybe a sign that Florida learned lesson's from Easley's injury last year — but I wonder if it was also easier to be quick with the news because there was good news to deliver.
Update, 1:33 p.m. Friday: Muschamp updated media on Hargreaves's condition on Friday:
To clarify: Muschamp said Hargreaves banged knees with a WR earlier in practice; aggravated it during later scrum. #Gators— Chris Harry (@GatorZoneChris) August 8, 2014
Hargreaves will receive treatment today at the main facility, so no need to panic when he's not at practice tonight. #Gators— Antonya English (@TBTimes_Gators) August 8, 2014
And Hargreaves himself had this to say:
Thank you everyone for all the love and support ..! I'm ok and I'll be back in no time !!!— Vernon Hargreaves (@_VH3) August 8, 2014
I'm still breathing easy.
Original post follows...
Florida cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III was carted off the field at Florida's first open fall practice of 2014 on Thursday night — and the circumstances of his injury make it more, not less, worrisome.
Hargreaves was involved in what I termed a "scrap" between defensive backs and wide receivers on the far field at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium, Florida's lacrosse complex, where practice was held. He came out of that fight with an apparent left leg injury. He was helped off the field to a tented area by trainers, where many teammates checked up on him, and missed the rest of practice, icing his left knee (not his right ankle) and testing his leg by walking around a bit on his own power before being whisked away from practice on a cart — in the shotgun seat, not laid out on it.
I didn't see Hargreaves being helped off the field at first, nor was I looking for it, so little did I think of what looked like a garden-variety fight in a football practice. And my view of the part of the field where this occurred wasn't as good as others' views were, so I didn't see details like Hargreaves looking "pretty dejected" or banging the cart as he departed.
My gut feeling, admittedly tinged with hope, is that Hargreaves suffered a knee injury significant enough for him to miss this practice and a few more, but not significant enough to be season-ending. Hargreaves being allowed to test his footing and walking under his own power to a cart is evidence that there was nothing so obviously severe that he needed to be immobilized; practice continuing is obviously evidence that there was nothing particularly horrific about the injury.
Florida didn't update media on Hargreaves's condition tonight, though, if there's swelling that has to subside before a substantial examination, it's definitely possible there's no update to give. Will Muschamp will meet with media tomorrow, and Hargraves's status will definitely be the first topic of discussion.
In the interim, though, reading what will fit in a text alert or a tweet — "Florida CB Hargreaves hurt in practice fight, carted off field" — is going to dismay Florida fans. And the idea that Hargreaves got hurt, possibly seriously, in a fight? That is going to be fodder for second-guessing Muschamp at a minimum, and excoriation of Muschamp from many — regardless of the fact that fights happen at football practices fairly often. I thought 247Sports' Thomas Goldkamp made an astute point with this tweet:
Tonight is one reason coaches like closed practices in camp. This isn't open to public, Hargreaves just got hurt in practice, that's it.— Thomas Goldkamp (@Goldkamp247) August 8, 2014
Hargreaves got hurt in fall practice last year, too, and missed open practices as a result; this was part of why Hargreaves playing and starring from Florida's first game onward was such a pleasant surprise (to some, anyway) in 2013.
But, of course, this practice was open, and people did see a fight and see Hargreaves get hurt. Goldkamp called it an "ugly scene" before making his observation, and he's not entirely wrong about that: It's not a good thing for a team's most talented player to get hurt in practice, whether after a fight or in a non-contact drill or while walking up stairs.
And I suspect that until Florida learns more about Hargreaves's injury, and shares what it learns through Muschamp, we're not going to know. This information is going to be a state secret for the Florida program for the next 12 to 18 hours, especially after leaks helped produce a day of desperation over Dominique Easley's torn ACL last fall.
What we can do, right now and until that information comes out, is hope, or pray, or take sips of the stiffest drink.
Get well soon, Vern.