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Slew of Florida Gators injuries include linebacker's scary one

Trainers help Florida quarterback John Brantley off the field late in the first half after he takes a shot to the head. He doesn’t return to the game.

WILL VRAGOVIC | Times

Trainers help Florida quarterback John Brantley off the field late in the first half after he takes a shot to the head. He doesn’t return to the game.

GAINESVILLE — It has been a tough season for Florida in terms of injuries, and things got worse Saturday night.

Sophomore LB Darrin Kitchens was injured on the second-half kickoff. And after remaining on the field for nearly 10 minutes, he was transported off by a cart with an apparent head or neck injury.

As he was taken off the field, Kitchens' eyes were open, he appeared to be answering questions from medical personnel and he gave fans at Florida Field a thumbs-up.

The injury occurred after senior QB John Brantley was hurt with 1:33 remaining in the first half when he took a shot to the head. He left the field under his own power but did not return.

DT Dominique Easley sustained an undisclosed injury early in the second quarter. OL Kyle Koehne sustained a leg injury in the first half. And late in the third quarter, TE A.C. Leonard injured his lower right leg and was on the sideline with the leg packed with ice.

Sophomore TE Jordan Reed did not play because of an ankle injury.

SAVE THE DATE: With the SEC expanding to 14 teams next season, league schools are unclear about what their schedules will look like. But Florida coach Will Muschamp went on record last week saying he isn't a fan of changing the date for the annual game with Florida State.

"I like the game where it is," he said. "I think it's a great game, a great environment, and playing it at the end of the season to … springboard you into the championship game and a bowl game is a good place for it."

Debates about playing FSU in the regular-season finale have gone on for many years, particularly after the SEC added a championship game. But Muschamp said Florida's history has proved that's not an issue.

"I'm kind of a traditionalist," Muschamp said. "I think it's kind of neat to have these rivalries at the end of the season. People bring up the fact that you're playing in the SEC championship game the next week, but I don't think you lack any focus when we get ready to play Florida State. And I'm sure they'd say the same thing if they were playing in the ACC championship.

"From a focus standpoint, you should be fine. At Florida, we've had a pretty good track record as far as playing the Florida State game and playing in the SEC championship game and winning championships. That's not something that's been an issue here."

ALL ABOUT NOSTALGIA: For three years, Florida senior RB Jeff Demps wore No. 2 on his jersey. But at the end of the spring, with a new coaching staff on board, Demps asked to wear the No. 28 he had worn for many years as a youth and high school player.

But Saturday, his final game at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Demps wanted to go out the way he came in. So he donned the No. 2 jersey.

Slew of Florida Gators injuries include linebacker's scary one 11/26/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 26, 2011 10:55pm]
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