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Florida vs. LSU: Gators’ Tyrie Cleveland “expected to be out” with high ankle sprain

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Florida’s playmaker is unlikely to go against LSU.

Vanderbilt vs Florida Photo by Logan Bowles/Getty Images

Florida Gators sophomore wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland has been a burgeoning star and big-play threat for the Gators practically since his enrollment in 2016. Now, for the first time, it seems he’ll miss a game due to injury: Florida’s Jim McElwain told reporters in his Monday press conference that Cleveland will be “out, or expected to be out” for Saturday’s game with LSU, and perhaps longer, with a high ankle sprain.

Cleveland left Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt at multiple junctures with injuries, but did not return after having his legs caught under a tackler on a play in the fourth quarter.

McElwain revealed that Cleveland is in “a boot” — likely a walking boot to stabilize his sprained ankle — but also joked that the high ankle sprain, typically an injury that takes up to a month to heal, would keep Cleveland out until spring practice, so it’s hard to say his prognosis is fully medically accurate.

Cleveland, for his part, tweeted “I’m good” on Sunday afternoon:

A high ankle sprain requiring significant time on the sideline would keep Florida’s leading receiver out of the mix on offense for key October games against LSU, Texas A&M, and possibly even Georgia.

Cleveland has 15 catches for 329 yards in 2017, giving him more than three times as many receiving yards as the Gators’ No. 2 pass-catcher — Kadarius Toney, a part-time receiver — and four more catches than any other Gator.

With Cleveland out, Florida is likely to start Josh Hammond, Brandon Powell, and Freddie Swain at receiver, mix in tight ends in its passing attack, and give an even larger share of targets to Toney.