Orlando Sentinel

Injured Gabriel ‘in great spirits’

QB’s family touched by fans’ support after broken collarbone

- By Matt Murschel

Even as the news began to sink in that UCF quarterbac­k Dillon Gabriel would miss an indetermin­ate amount of time with an injury, the junior was in good spirits surrounded by supportive family and friends.

Gabriel broke his left collarbone during the final play of the Knights’ 42-35 loss to Louisville on Friday night, initially reported by the Orlando Sentinel’s Jason Beede. The injury doesn’t require surgery and there is no timetable for his return. He shared the news with fans on social media Saturday afternoon.

Gabriel throws left-handed.

Two days later, the family shared an update on his status, thanking friends and family for their support.

“We were heartbroke­n with the injury on Friday night. Dillon has been through adversity before and he is facing it like he always does with great faith,” Dori Gabriel shared in a statement to the Sentinel. “Dillon is in great spirits today. We spent yesterday [Saturday] as a family, focused on all that we have and that is a loving supportive family, great friends and fans that are praying for a speedy recovery.

“Meanwhile, we rally around the team. Dillon loves his football brothers and he wants them to finish strong. He will be the leader and the light that he always is.”

Gabriel, who is in his third season with the Knights, was off to a strong start under first-year coach Gus Malzahn. He completed

68% of his 102 pass attempts for 818 yards with nine touchdowns and three intercepti­ons. He also took on a larger role in the ground game, rushing for 125 yards and two touchdowns.

It was his leadership off the field that coaches and players raved about in the offseason.

“Any injury he has had before, he comes back even more focused, stronger and determined than ever before,” Dori Gabriel added.

Gabriel injured a shoulder when he was in the ninth grade at Mililani High that cut his season short as well.

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