A reader asked this week whether the SEC front-loads its injuries in the same way that the NFL does. Simply put, the NFL will have a majority of its injuries by the time Week 2 hits. (That’s this weekend!) Given the heat of SEC camps, it would make sense that this would be true, but there’s no good studies or datasets to confirm this. One big difference is that college rosters stay big, while the NFL cuts down significantly. It’d be nice to see the SEC, filled with great research and medical colleges, do some research here, but until then, we’ll just hope that the medical staffs around the conference can keep players healthy. Let’s look at the injuries heading into this weekend:
Leonard Fournette, LSU
Heisman hopeful Fournette really hasn’t had a chance to showcase his power and speed combo due to the ankle injury that benched him last week. Heading into this week against Mississippi State, Les Miles has said that Fournette is full speed ahead, though he has gained some confidence in the backups. My sources tell me that Fournette is healthy and should get the full workload. That’s very bad news for the Bulldogs. The ankle injury was minor, I’m told, with the team simply taking the chance to get him ready for the long SEC schedule. Watch to see if Fournette gets his normal 20-plus touches and if he’s able to make hard cuts to both sides. With Fournette, he can always just elect to run over people as well.
Antonio Callaway and Tyrie Cleveland, Florida
It’s not surprising that Antonio Callaway isn’t going to play this weekend. Calloway missed the entire week of practice with a quad injury (likely a strain) that has remained problematic for the speedy receiver. It’s going to be a game time decision for Tyrie Cleveland, however, as he tries to return from his hamstring strain. The depth is a real issue, with C.J. Worton coming back from a high ankle sprain and still limited by it, and Dre Massey done for the year. Don’t look for Florida to push things with Cleveland or Worton. They should easily beat North Texas and will try to get everyone healthier for the trip to Tennessee next week.
D.K. Metcalf, Ole Miss
Metcalf’s done for the season with a foot fracture, after showing he could have been a real impact player for Ole Miss. Chad Kelly likes to spread the ball around, but it seemed that Metcalf’s size was making him a go-to option in the red zone. There’s no details out on which bone Metcalf fractured, but there’s been some speculation that it’s a Lisfranc fracture. That’s a mid-foot fracture that is tough to heal, as opposed to a more common Jones fracture on the outside of the foot. Surgery is an option, so it’s a good sign that it hasn’t been discussed so far. Metcalf should be back next year, but Kelly won’t. Injuries seem to be taking down a lot of Rebels, with Eric Swinney and Ken Webster also on the season-over list.
Cam Sims, Alabama
The stats on the year and the perceived depth at Alabama make any injury to Cam Sims seem like something less important than it actually is. While Sims’ mild shoulder injury only held him out of one game, there’s question about whether he’s fully healed or is just healed enough to play this week against Ole Miss. Players like this can often be used as decoys, but Sims isn’t so dominant that he has to be accounted for the way Amari Cooper was just a few years ago. Add in that Sims is just six months post ACL surgery and there’s a big gap between the expectations of what Sims could do and what he’s done. He’ll play, but Sims is well down the depth chart at this stage.