Posted: 1:09 p.m. Monday, Oct. 14, 2013
By Andy Hutchins
The long list of injuries suffered by Florida Gators players in 2013 just keeps getting longer.
Seven Gators, including five starters, have suffered season-ending injuries since the beginning of fall camp, with the latest being starting running back Matt Jones, who tore his meniscus on Saturday against LSU. Florida's lost its entire projected starting backfield with season-ending injuries to Jeff Driskel and Jones, and lost its most talented defender, Dominique Easley, as well.
The relative good health of the 2012 season seems like it was ages ago.
Once again, we'll run down Florida's injury situation with the help of charts.
|Andre Debose||WR||Torn ACL||August 6|
|Matt Rolin¹||OLB||Torn ACL||August 8|
|Chaz Green||RT||Torn labrum||~August 26|
|Nick Washington¹||CB||Shoulder||September 11|
|Jeff Driskel||QB||Broken fibula||September 21|
|Dominique Easley||DT||Torn ACL, meniscus||September 24|
|Matt Jones||RB||Torn meniscus||October 12|
Florida's lost five starters (counting Debose, Florida's starting kick returner) for the fall, and lost all of them before the midpoint of its season. And it has lost its starting quarterback, running back, and defensive tackle, players at positions where the dropoff from starter to backup was projected to be substantial at the beginning of the season.
Tyler Murphy's good play has improbably made Driskel's loss the least painful of the bunch so far, but Easley has been sorely missed, and was especially sorely missed against LSU. And Jones's absence may force a revamp of Florida's offensive approach, given that his talents as an all-around back were singular on Florida's roster.
Next up, a look at the players who have missed snaps due to injury.
|Matt Jones||RB||Viral infection, torn meniscus||Full Toledo game, most of LSU game|
|Mack Brown||RB||Ankle||Part of LSU game|
|Valdez Showers||RB||Ankle||Full Tennessee game, full Kentucky game|
|Colin Thompson¹||TE||Foot stress fracture||"Several weeks" post-Tennessee|
|D.J. Humphries||LT||Sprained MCL||Parts of Toledo, Miami games|
|Max Garcia||LG (OL)||Unknown||Part of Miami game|
|Jonotthan Harrison||C||Unknown||Part of Miami game|
|Jon Halapio||RG||Torn pectoral; eye poke||Full Toledo and Miami games|
|Tyler Moore||RT (OL)||Ankle||Part of Miami game; full Tennessee game|
|Leon Orr||DT||Shoulder||Part of Tennessee game|
|Damien Jacobs||DT||Head||Part of LSU game|
|Alex Anzalone¹||LB||Ankle||Full LSU game|
|Marcus Roberson||CB||Knee||Full Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas games|
|Loucheiz Purifoy||CB||Thigh contusion||Part of Tennessee game|
Combine this list with the above list, and at least 21 Florida players have missed snaps this fall thanks to injury — including a staggering 13 offensive and defensive starters. That total grows to 14 starters when including Debose.
Florida's entire offensive line has missed time at one point or another, and Green's injury was already forcing less experienced backups into action. Both of the Gators' top two running backs and both of their top two corners have been hurt. Arguably, Vernon Hargreaves III also missed snaps against LSU, though his injury occurred at the end of a drive, and he returned to the game.
And, as a reminer, minor and undisclosed injuries happen, too. The Palm Beach Post's Jason Lieser previously put Raphael Andrades, Marcell Harris, and Quinteze Williamson an injury report, and Dante Fowler, Jr. and Marcus Maye have turned up on injury reports, though they haven't missed time due to injury.
These injuries leave the Gators looking significantly diminished, and at the worst time possible: If Florida falls to Missouri in Columbia this week, it will need the Tigers to lose at least two SEC games to win the SEC East; even if the Gators beat Missouri, they will likely need to sweep Georgia, Vanderbilt, and South Carolina after their bye to represent the East in Atlanta.
And as the Week 8 polls suggest, Florida's remaining schedule is tremendously difficult: The Gators will see four of the top 15 teams in the country before the end of the year, and just one of those teams, Florida State, will meet the Gators in Gainesville.
This is bad, but it's mostly horrific luck: If this isn't the worst spate of luck when it comes to injuries in Florida's modern history, I certainly couldn't tell you what is. Florida will still have to play those six remaining games, though, and Florida will find a way to field a team.
Will Muschamp's fond of his "Man down, man up" mantra. 2013 is testing it to its limits.
While Rolin never saw the field, he would likely have played on special teams; Washington and Anzalone both contributed on special teams when healthy.
Thompson played in Florida's first three games.