Florida's bill of health for its SEC home opener on Saturday against Tennessee is relatively clean — but at linebacker, one of the team's thinnest positions, the Gators will likely be down another contributor.
That's because Jeremi Powell, who was carted to the locker room after being helped off the field during Florida's 14-9 win over Kentucky, is "probably out" for this week's game with what Jim McElwain termed a "high foot" injury in his Monday press conference. (What a "high foot" injury is is up for debate; maybe a high ankle sprain?)
Powell's injury trims Florida's list of fully healthy scholarship linebackers to just four — starters Jarrad Davis and Antonio Morrison and reserves Daniel McMillian and Rayshad Jackson — for the forseeable future. Davis is only a starter at the moment because of a shoulder injury Alex Anzalone sustained against East Carolina — one McElwain said will keep the junior out "for a while" — but both he and Morrison are also less than a year removed from serious knee injuries (in Davis's case, a torn ACL; in Morrison's, a never-specified serious injury suffered during the Birmingham Bowl), so "fully healthy" is a term of art.
And, really, McMillian may be the only true backup to Davis and Morrison if Powell is indeed out. Jackson is a true freshman and has not played this fall, and reserves Anthony Harrell and Matt Rolin are each also dealining with nagging injuries. Harrell, a graduate transfer from Georgia Tech, has played sparingly this fall, largely on special teams, after suffering an injury during fall camp, and the oft-injured Rolin, who has been slighted by McElwain in multiple press conferences, tweeted Monday about getting a "green light" to return to practice, something McElwain confirmed during his presser.
Just got the green light. Time to work my way back up.— Matt Rolin (@MattRolin25) September 21, 2015
Davis and Morrison have each been very good so far for Florida, Davis especially so, but the lack of depth at the position, which forced safety Marcus Maye to play some snaps at linebacker against Kentucky, could make even a minor nick to either player a full-blown crisis.
Other injury notes:
- Reserve running back/wide receiver Case Harrison will have a procedure performed on his thumb, and is expected to miss multiple games.
- Wide receiver Chris Thompson sustained a lower back injury against Kentucky, but is "okay."
- Tight end C'yontai Lewis still has a cast on his hand, and his status will be determined over the course of the week.
- Defensive lineman Jordan Sherit is "ready to go" and expected to return to Florida's defensive line rotation after playing only in kicking situations against Kentucky.