Everything in college football is rated and ranked. 4-star recruits, strength of schedule, and the ubiquitous polls all define how we think of players and teams. From tailgating to stadiums, there’s a stat for everything except injuries. There’s not even a standardized system for reporting or discussing injuries, let alone talk about the near-medieval system of insurance behind the scenes of those same injuries. It might be easier for us to talk bout a 2-star hamstring strain, but until then, there’s plenty of injuries around the SEC for us to discuss:
Luke Del Rio, QB Florida (sprained knee)
Florida just wanted to make it past North Texas with a clean, healthy win. It didn’t. Del Rio came out of the game with a sprained knee. It’s most likely an MCL (medial collateral ligament), given how it happened (a low hit from the outside) and the expected time missed. The MCL, unlike the ACL, does tend to heal if not fully ruptured and can be protected with a brace. Del Rio could miss about a month, but adjusting to the brace and getting comfortable with lateral motion is the key here. Long-term, he should be fine, but that doesn’t help in this week’s big matchup at Tennessee.
Quart’e Sapp, LB Tennessee (sprained knee)
The Vols have their own injury concerns. Sapp is lost for the season with a damaged ACL. Sapp will need surgery to reconstruct the knee and will miss 9-12 months, though we have seen some quicker returns lately. The depth in Tennessee’s linebacking corps already has been an issue, which makes losing this backup even tougher. Sapp was definitely in the rotation and helped make up for the missing Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who should be back for the Florida game, but likely not at full-go.
Cam Sutton, CB Tennessee (fractured ankle)
The news got worse on the defensive side as Butch Jones went down the injury report. Sutton will miss an extended period, likely two months, after suffering a fractured ankle. There’s some associated damage inside the ankle, according to a source, but that should heal as the bone does. There’s a chance surgery could be needed down the line, but that would be uncommon. Sutton’s quickness and speed will be impacted, but most players come back from this kind of injury at or near their previous level. The question now is whether Sutton will be back for the late-season push, or if this is the end of his Vols career.
ArDarius Stewart, WR Alabama (sprained knee)
I’m still not sure why Stewart had an axe on the sideline. I am sure that his sprained knee is a problem, though Alabama’s depth and recruiting prowess always gives its an advantage. Stewart likely has an MCL sprain, as Del Rio above, but the function is different. Stewart has to make hard lateral cuts as part of his game. Until he heals, he would be limited to cutting to one side, which defenses would figure out quickly, or rounding routes off. There’s no need, so Alabama will let Cam Sims and Robert Foster take the work in the meantime. That could be about a month.