Bye week coming at critical time for injured Gators football team
Florida's bye week came earlier than usual this season, but it turns out it's blessing in disguise.
The Gators have nine players, including seven starters, who are injured, including quarterback Jeff Driskel.
Freshman DB Nick Washington is the most serious, having suffered a season-ending injury on Monday.
"Nick injured his shoulder Monday," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "He had a previous injury there in high school over in Jacksonville at Trinity. We’re going to have to have surgery on Monday, so he’ll be done for the season. He just reached in for a ball, a non-contact injury, knocking the ball off a guy in a skeleton period. So unfortunate that happened, he was really progressing well at defensive back for us, and on special teams doing a good job."
Gators QB Jeff Driskel has a sprained knee, but is expected to play in the Sept. 21 Tennessee game. He has spent the week on crutches.
"We’re just precautionary, just trying to get him off his knee a little bit," Muschamp said. "We’ve got a long season ahead of us."
Other key injuries: OL D.J. Humphries (sprained MCL); LB Dante Fowler (hip contusion); safety Marcus Maye (shoulder) and CB Marcus Roberson (sprained knee) are all expected to play in the UT game.
OL Tyler Moore, a Countryside alum, sprained his left ankle in the Miami game. Muschamp said Moore would be out if the Gators were playing this week, but most likely will return next week.
Senior OL Jon Halapio, who has missed the past six weeks with a torn pectoral muscle, is scheduled to return to practice today and participate in contact drills for the first time this season.
Freshman OL Rod Johnson is scheduled to return to practice on Monday after battling inujries, but he's expected to redshirt this season.
"That's the plan (to redshirt Johnson)," Muschamp said. "Right now, with as much time, Jason, as he's missed through August camp and now we're two weeks into the season, he'd be hard-pressed. We have enough depth where we are on the offensive line even though we had to re-shuffle things obviously last Saturday and we'll continue to do based on our situation going into the coming weeks. But right now, he would be a redshirt guy."