The story of the 2013 season was injury, which swallowed up the Gators and spit back a depleted roster that struggled to keep up on the field. In an offseason that has thus far been a flurry of hires that bring new hope and promise to the 2014 version of Florida football, Will Muschamp took time to remind us of the true toll last year’s injuries continue to take.
Four players will miss the entirety of spring practice with lingering injuries from last season; plus there will be one non-contact and the future for a certain redshirt freshman remains to be seen. Matt Jones, Alex Anzalone, Matt Rolin and Jeremi Powell will all miss the entire spring camp while Andre Debose will be non-contact. Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Octavius Jackson is dealing with a chronic shoulder issue that required surgery that puts his future up in the air. .
Jones, who was leading the team in rushing at the timPreviewe of his injury against LSU, had what appeared to be a meniscus injury. At first, the injury appeared to be a routine tear that would require surgery, but the procedure revealed a far more serious problem.
“He had a radial tear of the meniscus, which basically splits the meniscus in half,” Muschamp said of Jones’ injury. “The first surgery we were able to put together about 60% of the meniscus. Generally when you have a radial tear one of two things you try and mend the meniscus back where you take it out and create a bone on bone situation, which, for a running back, is not good. In the first operation our orthopedics put 60% back, which is very good. We’re very optimistic about the meniscus being fine.”
While the coaching staff holds on to optimism, Jones still has a long road ahead of him.
“We’re going to go back and build the quad back and then we’re going to come back in 3-to-4 weeks to have a scope to repair the remaining 40% and our orthopedics feel very confident that they’re going to be able to do so,” Muschamp continued.
Jones will sit out spring practice but there is hope that he will be able to participate in summer workouts.
Additionally, both Rolin and Powell will miss spring camp as they continue to rehab following surgeries to repair torn ACLs. For Rolin, this is the second surgery on his ACL while Powell is going through the rehabilitation process for the first time.
Anzalone will also miss the spring after undergoing a second shoulder surgery in less than a year at Florida. Anzalone tore his labrum just two practices in last spring but was able to play before re-injuring his shoulder at the end of the season.
Debose tore his ACL early on in fall camp but has had a great rehab process and will be available in a non-contact capacity this spring. The soon-to-be sixth year senior will be an asset on special teams as well as a new toy for Kurt Roper and the up-tempo offense.
Muschamp was very open and up front about the injuries today except for one player. Jackson’s injury status was left in the dark by his head coach.
“Octavius Jackson had shoulder surgery on a chronic shoulder,” Muschamp said. “We’ll know more about his future in the coming weeks. He’s having some issues there with his shoulder.”
This doesn’t appear to be a hopeful diagnosis from the head coach, especially at a position where Florida needs able bodies this spring.
According to Muschamp, all the players who were not listed there will be ready to go this spring.