KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee kick return ace and starting free safety Evan Berry is out for the season with a knee injury, according to coach Butch Jones.
The good news, Jones said, is that cornerback Cam Sutton and Alvin Kamara will return to practice on Monday and could play in Saturday’s noon game against Kentucky.
Losing Berry, however, is another blow to what has been an injury-plagued secondary.
“We’ve lost the services of Evan Berry, so he’ll be out for the year; it’s a knee injury,” Jones said at his Monday press conference. “He’s going to be missed, not only from a return aspect, but we thought he was playing very well on the back end of our defense.
“He was really coming along at the safety position.”
Berry led the nation in kick return average last season (38.3 yards per return), and he was second in the nation this season averaging 32.9 yards per return.
Berry has started the past two games at safety for the Vols in place of Micah Abernathy.
Abernathy has been nursing a hamstring injury suffered in the Oct. 15 Alabama game.
Abernathy aggravated his hamstring injury in the 55-0 win over Tennessee Tech, leading to freshman Nigel Warrior seeing a great amount of action
Jones said Warrior is competing for the starting safety spot with Berry out.
Sutton has been out since the Sept. 17 Ohio game when he suffered a fractured ankle.
Kamara suffered a knee injury against Alabama on Oct. 15.
Here’s an updated list of the Vols’ attrition/injuries:
DEFENSE OUT /Gone CURRENT DEFENSE
Danny O’Brien Derek Barnett
Shy Tuttle Kendal Vickers
Kahlil McKenzie Quay Picou
Alexis Johnson Corey Vereen
Kyle Phillips LaTroy Lewis
Paul Bain Darrell Taylor
Austin Smith Dimarya Mixon
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Darrin Kirkland
Quart’e Sapp Elliott Berry
Ja’Quain Blakely Colton Jumper
Cam Sutton Justin Martin
Malik Foreman Emmanuel Moseley
Evan Berry Todd Kelly
Micah Abernathy Nigel Warrior
Stephen Griffin Rashaan Gaulden
OFFENSE OUT/Gone CURRENT OFFENSE
Austin Sanders Brett Kendrick
Jalen Hurd Josh Dobbs
Alvin Kamara John Kelly
Preston Williams Josh Malone