COLUMBIA, S.C. — During his call-in show on Wednesday, South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp said Deebo Samuel could be back before the end of the regular season.
Muschamp detailed some of the specifics of Samuel’s potential return.
“There’s a possibility that he could play in the regular season, but I don’t want to speculate,” Muschamp said, during his teleconference on Sunday night.
“I know, now, the headlines will be that he’s coming back, but I don’t want to speculate and get too far down the road.”
The redshirt junior wide receiver from Inman, S.C. suffered a fractured fibula in the Kentucky game and has since undergone surgery, to repair the injury.
Samuel caught 3 touchdown passes, returned 2 kickoffs for scores and rushed for another before going down with the injury. He’s also hauled in 15 passes for 250 yards.
At the very least, there’s some hope that Samuel could be back by the Clemson game.
“[Doctors] think his rehab has gone extremely well,” Muschamp said. “At the end of the day, it’s our doctors’ call whether or not he plays, whether or not he’s healthy enough and he needs to agree with it.
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“We’re still up in the air, totally up in the air on all that, so there’s a possibility, but I don’t want to get into definite or anything like that, because there’s a lot that needs to happen, before that happens.”
Muschamp added, “He’s walking. If you walked into the room, you wouldn’t know anything was wrong. He’s putting full weight and he’s in a normal shoe, walking around and flexible. He’s moving around, but he’s got to be running at a high rate and things like that, and they’ve got to be sure that the bone has healed.”
That includes making sure those hamstrings are healthy enough to handle the rigors of playing football in the SEC. Samuel, of course, missed time during his redshirt freshman and sophomore seasons, because of hamstring injuries.
“That certainly is a question that I have, as a coach,” Muschamp said. “I never want to put a player out there if he’s not full speed and can’t protect himself. Those are things, to me, that are really important — we check off all the boxes, as far as all those things are concerned.”