If not for bad luck the 2013 Florida Gators football team might have no luck at all.
Head coach Will Muschamp announced on Monday that the Gators would be without Matt Jones for the rest of the season after the running back tore his meniscus last Saturday against LSU.
Jones is the seventh player on the roster and fifth starter to be sidelined for the season with an injury. He joins Jeff Driskel (fibula), Andre Debose (ACL), Chaz Green (labrum), Matt Rolin (ACL), Dominique Easley (ACL) and Nick Washington (shoulder).
“Very disappointed, Matt Jones is out for the season, is having surgery as we speak,” Muschamp said on Monday afternoon. “We thought it was a sprain in the knee, it turns out it was a torn meniscus. He definitely will be out.”
Jones was leading the team with 67.80 rushing yards-per-game and carried the ball 79 times for 339 yards as a starter despite missing the first game due to an illness.
“I hate it for Matt,” Muschamp said. “He’s a great young man, to go through what he’s been through this fall, missing all of most of fall camp. Working his way back in shape and starting to feel good about himself, as far as how he felt physically, mentally and then to have this setback is just disheartening for all of us.”
In Jones’ absence the load will shift to Mack Brown, Kelvin Taylor, Mark Herndon, and Valdez Showers. Brown will likely replace Jones as the starter but the door is open for all of them to earn more carries the rest of the way.
“Well, Mack Brown and Kelvin [Taylor] and Mark Herndon would be a third right now,” Muschamp said. “And we’ll go from there with those guys. Valdez [Showers] can take a larger role as a running back, not necessarily as a slot guy as much. Hunter Joyer can always be a one-back situational guy for us. ”
Florida’s motto of “man down, man up” is turning into more of a credo for a team that will once again have to refocus, rally around a fallen teammate and attempt to move on after another devastating injury.