COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina offensive lineman Zack Bailey is close to returning to action after missing recent practices with an undisclosed injury.
The sophomore, who made five starts last season, missed Saturday night’s scrimmage, but Gamecocks coach Will Muschamp said he expects Bailey back in practice either Monday or Tuesday.
“Zach is going to be fine,” Muschamp said on a Sunday afternoon teleconference of his projected starting left guard, who has been sidelined since Wednesday’s open practice at Williams-Brice Stadium.
As for the cause of Bailey’s absence, Muschamp said he did not want to delve into the specifics of his injury. He did, however, discuss his pleasure in seeing the leadership of many of his offensive linemen, including Bailey.
“I’ve been extremely pleased with Zack,” Muschamp said. “He’s been out for a couple of days here, but when he’s been on the field, he’s been extremely productive.”
Bailey was not alone in missing Saturday’s scrimmage, as senior safety Jordan Diggs was held out due to a shoulder injury. Diggs, who is battling to be the starting nickleback, took a hard hit from offensive lineman D.J. Park during Monday’s open practice, when he appeared to suffer the shoulder injury, which had him in a yellow jersey at practice the following days. Diggs will return to practice Monday, Muschamp said.
Freshman wide receiver Randrecous Davis missed a couple of recent practices because of a strained hamstring, but not the same one that previously had him hampered. Offensive lineman Trey Derouen, like Bailey, did not participate in the scrimmage, but is expected back early this week.
Freshman tight end Robert Tucker also is expected back from injury Monday, while freshman defensive lineman Stephon Taylor took part in Saturday’s scrimmage he works back to health after having labrum surgery.
Muschamp said the Gamecocks will be without senior linebacker Larenz Bryant and freshman running backs Rico Dowdle and Mon Denson for their season opener on Sept. 1 at Vanderbilt, with the possibility they could miss more time.
“Afterward, I will know more as we move forward,” Muschamp said.
Sophomore tight end Kyle Markway could join the ranks of players unavailable for the season opener, with Muschamp putting him at “50/50” for the first game.
“We need to get Kyle back because he’s a guy that can block at the point of attack and does a lot on special teams,” Muschamp said.
Mike Wilson covers South Carolina athletics for SECCountry.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on the Gamecocks.