Florida freshman tackle Martez Ivey, one of the nation's top recruits in the 2015 class, will have his knee "scoped" on Friday to investigate a "pre-existing" leg injury, according to Florida coach Jim McElwain. While there is no timetable for his return, McElwain also said the injury is not likely to be season-ending.
Martez Ivey is going to have his knee scoped Friday morning. A pre-existing thing, not timetable for return.— Robbie Andreu (@RobbieAndreu) August 27, 2015
Mac on Ivey: "He'll be back. I don't know how quickly. It doesn't appear to be season-ending."— Edgar Thompson (@osgators) August 27, 2015
The term "scoped," in sports medicine, usually refers to arthroscopic surgery, and almost always means that in reference to a knee being scoped. If Ivey's just having an arthroscopic surgery to clear something out, he could return well before the end of the season, maybe in little more than a month.
Florida basketball player Will Yeguete had an arthroscopic knee surgery in February 2013 and was back just four weeks later, and basketball arguably requires more of a power forward's knee than football does of a left tackle's. Florida linebacker Jeremi Powell had an arthroscopic knee surgery on September 3, 2014, and played in Florida's game at Tennessee on October 4.
If the surgery turns up a greater concern, though, Ivey could well be shut down for the year — which would be a substantial blow to an offensive line that is as laden with uncertainty as it is potential. Ivey, who possessess immense physical gifts and added much of the weight necessary to hold his own against SEC defenders in the offseason, figured to play a major role on the line this season in some capacity, and had drawn some buzz as a potential starter at left tackle.
But it sounds as if this was always a possible issue: Ivey's father told Gator Country's Nick de la Torre late Thursday that his son had an arthroscopic surgery in high school to repair a meniscus injury, something that was also reported on at the time by the Orlando Sentinel's Chris Hays, with Ivey telling Hays he had surgery "a couple days before" New Year's, in December 2013.
Update: The Sentinel's Edgar Thompson, with help from Hays, reported late Thursday that this surgery will be to repair a "slightly torn" meniscus in Ivey's left knee. The pair also quoted Apopka High School offensive line coach James Delgado on the specifics of how exactly the injury occurred.
"He told me he was reaching the D-end on a play and the play ran right over the top of him and he kind of twisted it and then everybody landed on it," Delgado said. "I think he's in good spirits about it. Obviously he's not thrilled about having to get surgery and missing anything but I think he's going to be all right. ... Since he's up there I would suspect he will be in great hands."
While this injury is to Ivey's left knee, Thompson and Hays also clarify in their report that the high school injury was to Ivey's right knee.
Without Ivey, Florida will shuffle its tackle rotation:
In Ivey's absence, Fred Johnson will stick at RT, Mason Halter will play at OT, Trip Thurman could play on the edge as well— Landon Watnick (@LandonWatnick) August 27, 2015
The other player in that rotation not mentioned by Watnick is David Sharpe, who was likely to figure into the mix to start at right tackle, but is now apparently moving to left tackle. (Sharpe and Thurman are Florida's only players to have played signficant snaps at tackle in FBS games.)
Losing Ivey for even part of the season is bad, no question, but Florida's schedule is at least marginally easier in September, as the Gators host two non-conference teams, travel to Kentucky, and host Tennessee before embarking on a treacherous October slate that features four bowl teams and three games away from Gainesville.
If he can be back, and play at a high level, by the end of September, this injury might not be the death blow to Florida's offensive line that some will surely say it is.