Right shoul­der in­jury KO's Florida quar­ter­back

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - SPORTS - By Mark Long

Florida will be with­out quar­ter­back Luke Del Rio against South Carolina. Coach Jim McEl­wain said Mon­day that Del Rio will miss the game and maybe the rest of the sea­son with a right shoul­der in­jury.

GAINESVILLE, FLA. >> Florida coach Jim McEl­wain ended up mak­ing a quar­ter­back change af­ter all.

He had no choice this time.

The 22nd-ranked Ga­tors will be with­out quar­ter­back Luke Del Rio “for a while,” maybe even the rest of the sea­son, be­cause of a right shoul­der in­jury.

“It’s bad, man,” McEl­wain said Mon­day. “When you can’t lift your duf­fel bag up, chances are some­thing’s hurt, right?”

The banged-up Ga­tors (6-2, 4-2 South­east­ern Con­fer­ence) also will be down three more starters Satur­day against South Carolina, and two of those are out for the year. Cen­ter Cam Dil­lard (knee) and lineback­ers Jar­rad Davis (an­kle) and Alex An­za­lone (arm) won’t play against the Game­cocks. Dil­lard and An­za­lone are out for the sea­son.

Los­ing Davis and An­za­lone would seem­ingly cre­ate huge holes in Florida’s de­fense, which ranks sec­ond in the SEC in yards al­lowed. David Reese and fel­low fresh­man Ky­lan John­son are ex­pected to fill in for them.

“Those guys have played,” McEl­wain said. “You know what? They’re go­ing to play a bunch this week.”

There was spec­u­la­tion Del Rio was go­ing to get benched af­ter an­other sub­par per­for­mance. He threw two in­ter­cep­tions in a 31-10 loss at Arkansas on Satur­day, looked un­com­fort­able in the pocket and showed lit­tle ac­cu­racy or arm strength on deep passes.

Turns out he was play­ing in pain.

“He was banged up,” said McEl­wain, who con­sid­ered pulling him at half­time against the Ra­zor­backs and ac­knowl­edged Mon­day he should have made the switch. “Played that way. And, you know, look­ing at my­self in the mir­ror, we should have made a change at half­time, and yet part of the rea­son we didn’t, ob­vi­ously, we didn’t know the sever­ity of it.”

McEl­wain said Del Rio was get­ting more tests to de­ter­mine the ex­tent of the in­jury.

“You could tell that he was in some pain at times, but I mean that kid is a fighter,” re­ceiver Ah­mad Ful­wood said. “Even if he was (hurt), he was go­ing to make sure that he was go­ing to fin­ish that game. He gave us all that he’s got.”

Pur­due trans­fer Austin Ap­pleby prob­a­bly will get the nod Satur­day, al­though McEl­wain left open the pos­si­bil­ity of go­ing with Kyle Trask or fel­low fresh­man Feleipe Franks against the Game­cocks (5-4, 3-4).

Ap­pleby com­pleted 42 of 67 passes for 440 yards, with three touch­downs and an in­ter­cep­tion, in two starts in place of Del Rio ear­lier this sea­son. Ap­pleby was at his best in the first half at Ten­nessee, but he was fairly pedes­trian in six quar­ters since.

Del Rio re­turned from a sprained left knee against Mis­souri on Oct. 15 but wasn’t the same against the Tigers, Ge­or­gia and Arkansas. He had two touch­downs and six in­ter­cep­tions in those games.

His shoul­der in­jury hap­pened in the sec­ond quar­ter against the Ra­zor­backs. He landed awk­wardly on it and was hold­ing it be­fore half­time and ic­ing it af­ter­ward.

“He’s a tough guy. Never said any­thing,” McEl­wain said. “It speaks for him and the guys were ready to come out. And yet, you know, we didn’t ex­e­cute. Like I said, had I known the sever­ity, prob­a­bly wouldn’t have done that.”

The in­juries could hin­der Florida’s chances of win­ning the SEC’s Eastern Divi­sion. The Ga­tors can clinch the divi­sion if they beat South Carolina on Satur­day and Ken­tucky up­sets Ten­nessee. Florida also could se­cure a spot in At­lanta for the sec­ond straight year by beat­ing the Game­cocks and then win­ning at LSU next week.

“It’s not about the East,” McEl­wain said. “It’s about get­ting your­self a lit­tle bit bet­ter ev­ery day. At times we do that. This last week, we didn’t . ... It was my re­spon­si­bil­ity to build on the dif­fer­ent blocks that help you be suc­cess­ful, not only as a player but suc­cess­ful in life. When you take a look at (that), like I said, it’s very hum­bling.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.