There’s no question that there’s a cost to injuries, but are they worth an investment? Injuries lead to disappointment and losses, so think of them as the opposite of recruiting. I know a lot of you read SEC Country in order to find out what hot new prep 5-star is coming to be the next star at your school. This column tells you which ones the injury gods are taking away.
Recruiting can bring in the talent, but if those talents can’t stay healthy, the losses pile up and it becomes harder to get those 5-stars on campus. But guess which one schools spend a lot more money on? Sure, airfare alone is a big cost, but is there any reason a school with a profitable football program shouldn’t spend a similar amount on health as it does recruiting?
Tell me in the Facebook comments after you read what happened around the conference:
A.J. Turner, RB South Carolina
At 4-4 and with four games still to go, South Carolina’s first season under Will Muschamp could go a lot of ways. Team health could be a big deciding factor. A proxy for this could be A.J. Turner, who came back from a knee injury against Tennessee. Turner’s been dinged up all season, making an opening for Rico Dowdle to take over the feature role.
Turner’s knee looked good in limited action, so if he can stay healthy or even get healthier if he’s not back to 100 percent, that’s going to be a big help. It should be all hands on deck for a key game with Missouri. A win and South Carolina is likely on its way to bowl eligibility.
Brandon Holloway, RB Mississippi State
Holloway has missed time with his ankle injury, but the Bulldogs keeping details of the injury under wraps has made it seem worse than it really is. Holloway’s injury, which I have been told was a Grade II ankle sprain, normally takes 2-4 weeks to heal.
Holloway’s right in there — more than two, less than four (but just barely.) There’s some question about whether Holloway could have played against Samford, but given games against Texas A&M and Alabama in the next two weeks, saving Holloway for those wouldn’t be a bad strategy.
We should get a good look at Holloway during practice this week, but with bad matchups, his stat line may not tell you much about his health.
Kerryon Johnson, RB Auburn
Johnson’s back from his mild ankle sprain, but he won’t get the lion’s share of touches back any time soon. While Auburn ran 52 times against Ole Miss, Johnson got the smaller end of the split with Kamryn Pettway going wild with his opportunity.
Johnson amassed 42 yards on 11 carries and showed no deficits in power or cuts due to the ankle, while Pettway went an astonishing 30 carries for 236. With three winnable games before the always-interesting Iron Bowl, Auburn is in position for a big bowl. Keeping this running attack healthy will be key to that, given the sheer numbers.