Excitement was high from Florida’s fan base heading into Thursday’s Media Days but the mood was quickly toned down.
That was because during Will Muschamp’s opening press conference he revealed that several players were injured and would miss some time during fall practice.
The most surprising news was that sophomore running back Matt Jones has come down with a serious viral infection.
“He came down with this in the last four or five days,” Muschamp said. “Right now, we’re filling him full of antibiotics. How his body responds will tell me how quickly he can come back. I probably won’t know definitively until the end of next week on that. It’s just one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of gastrointestinal issues right now, and he’s dealing with those things. He’s a guy that should be fine. Again, I just don’t know when he will return.”
With that news breaking, the Gators will have to turn to redshirt junior Mack Brown at the running back position when Florida opens up fall camp tomorrow.
Another big surprise were the injuries upfront for the Gators.
Injuries upfront cost the Gators their annual spring game, because there simply wasn’t enough bodies up front. The Gators appear to be facing the same problem once again, as Florida now enter fall camp down to just four offensive linemen.
The first injury that Will Muschamp revealed was that senior offensive Jon Halapio hurt himself after returning from SEC media days.
“Jon Halapio had a partial tear of his pec,” Muschamp said. “There’s no surgery needed. He will be back. It’s just I don’t know exactly when. He meets with the doctor again next Friday to find out exactly when he’ll be back in action.”
Redshirt junior Max Garcia, who sat out last year due to transferring, has also fallen victim to the injury bug.
Will Muschamp said that Garcia has a back injury that continues to flare up on him. Garcia will meet with a doctor on August 6th to gain clearance to play again.
Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Trip Thurman had shoulder surgery during the spring and remains out, but Muschamp believes he will be clear on August 12th when he meets with the doctors.
Senior offensive lineman Kyle Koehne isn’t injured, but he will miss Friday’s practice as he will be attending a funeral. Koehne is due to return on Saturday.
All of these injuries were revealed on Thursday, but on Tuesday news broke that quarterback Jeff Driskel would miss time due to having his appendix removed.
“Our medical staff did a fantastic job of identifying Jeff’s appendix early,” he said. “He’s going to be fine. Timetable, they say two weeks, it will probably be inside of two weeks based on the early diagnosis of where we are. He’s doing extremely well. It’ll be a day-to-day process. Basically how it was explained to me is all they’re worried about is the sutures healing and there’s no infection. Once they get past that stage, it’s all a pain tolerance issue. And luckily, Jeff’s a tough guy, so it’s not going to be much of an issue for him. He wants to get back on the field, but we’re going to listen to our medical staff before him on those situations.”
One defensive guy that will miss time is freshman Jordan Sherit, who had ACL surgery last fall. Muschamp said he could be cleared towards the end of August.
With all of those injuries being bad news for the team, the good news is that Ronald Powell, Alex Anzalone and Matt Rolin will return for the start of fall camp.
“They’ll be full speed,” Muschamp said. “But we’ll monitor their reps obviously as they work through it.”