AUBURN, Ala. — For the time being, Gus Malzahn is looking at Auburn’s injury bug through an optimistic lens.
The Tigers have been mostly healthy this season, but in the second half of the Ole Miss game, players began to start dropping with uncomfortable regularity. Tony Stevens entered the game with a nagging injury that kept him out. Tre’ Williams, Andrew Williams, Eli Stove and Javaris Davis all experienced minor issues throughout the game.
Malzahn didn’t guarantee anyone’s availability for Saturday against Vanderbilt, but he said they all have a chance to go.
“Everybody is gonna practice today, so if everybody practices today it’s usually a good sign,” Malzahn said Tuesday. “We’ll see once they move around, but this time of year, if somebody doesn’t practice on Tuesdays sometimes that’s a little bit of a challenge, but we’ll see.”
Stevens dressed out for the Vanderbilt matchup, but he was limited in practice all last week. Malzahn said he tried to participate last Tuesday, but coaches had to pull him out because of the “tough injury” Stevens is dealing with.
The specific injury remains undisclosed.
“We’re hoping to get him back and we’ll see today in practice, let him move around, see how he’s doing,” Malzahn said “Obviously he’s been one of our impact players in the receiving crew in the passing game. It’d be nice to have him back.”
The status of Tre’ Williams, Andrew Williams and Davis will likely be determined Wednesday, Malzahn said. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said Sunday that Eli Stove, who was able to finish the Ole Miss game, is expected to play against the Commodores.
As far as short-term injuries go, the Tigers are inching toward full health against Vanderbilt. There are still some long-term issues of concern.
Malik Miller underwent knee injury last month after suffering an injury against Louisiana-Monroe. Malzahn hinted after the surgery that he might be available later in the season. That’s still undetermined, but Miller is improving through the rehabilitation process, according to Malzahn.
“He’s actually jogging now this week, and he’s trying to get healthy,” Malzahn said. “Put it this way. It’s going really well, his progression, and he’s worked extremely hard.”
Auburn will be without defensive lineman Paul James III, who suffered a season-ending knee injury, for the foreseeable future.
“Paul James is rehabbing. Hoping to get him back for spring practice,” Malzahn said.