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Florida’s Duke Dawson, Dre Massey injured vs. UMass

Both players left the game and did not return.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida cornerback Duke Dawson and wide receiver Dre Massey both left the Gators’ season opener against UMass with apparent injuries in the first half, and did not return.

Dawson appeared to hurt his arm or shoulder on a tackle in the first half, while Massey appeared to sustain a right knee injury. Dawson was examined on the sideline, then returned to the locker room prior to halftime, while Massey did not return to the field after halftime.

Florida coach Jim McElwain addressed both injuries — sort of — in his postgame press conference.

“Dre Massey went down early. We’re going to have to take a good look at that. I’m not sure where that’s going to be. Duke Dawson went down with an arm injury. We’ll get that looked at. We held him out, but it enabled us to get Chauncey (Gardner) and (Joseph) Putu and Chris (Williamson) in there at corner a little bit. I thought that was good. That’s going to help us down the road a little bit.”

Dawson is Florida’s starting nickel cornerback and was a starter outside against UMass with Teez Tabor serving a one-game suspension, reportedly for his role in a fight with teammate C’yontai Lewis. He wasn’t targeted much while he was in the game, but his absence hurt the Gators, as Williamson was badly burned on a 53-yard completion that was the Minutemen’s longest play of the night — and one that accounted for more than a third of their total offense.

Massey is the Gators’ starting slot receiver, and returned the opening kickoff for 21 yards. He was not targeted on the night, but it appeared that his confusion on where to line up at one juncture forced Florida to burn a timeout.

Dawson tweeted on Sunday morning that he will be back for Florida’s game next Saturday against Kentucky.