Injuries to Watch – Week 10

Published on Wednesday, 10/30/13, at 12:05 p.m. Eastern.
Updated on Thursday, 10/31/13, at 5:05 p.m. Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

For Thursday’s AAC matchup vs. South Florida, Houston RB Ryan Jackson is ‘questionable’ has been downgraded to ‘doubtful’ after possibly sustaining a concussion in last week’s 49-14 win at Rutgers. Jackson has rushed 95 times for a team-high 477 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 5.0 yards per carry.

Southern Cal is hoping to get star WR Marquise Lee (knee) back for Friday’s game at Oregon St. Lee missed last week’s win over Utah and is ‘questionable’ but is ‘probable’ against the Beavers after practicing on Wednesday. The Trojans will be without starting TE Randall Telfer and the laundry list of defensive injuries continues to grow. DE Morgan Breslin, who had a team-high 13 sacks in 2012, remains ‘out’ with a hip injury. Starting LB Lamar Dawson was recently lost to a season-ending injury along with reserve safety Gerald Bowman. Starting cornerback Anthony Brown (arm) is also ‘out’ at Oregon St.

Mike Riley’s team has plenty of its own injury concerns. On the last play of Oregon St.’s 20-12 home loss to Stanford last week, WR Kevin Cummings was lost for the season with a broken wrist. Cummings had 23 receptions for 254 yards and two TDs during his senior campaign. Two of QB Sean Mannion’s other targets are on the mend. TE Connor Hamlett (knee) couldn’t go against Stanford and is ‘questionable’ vs. USC. Hamlett has hauled in 25 catches for 198 yards and four TDs this year. The Beavers’ other tight end Caleb Smith is also a question mark due to back spasms. Smith has 17 receptions for 229 yards and three TDs in 2013. Finally, starting LB D.J. Alexander is ‘questionable’ with a shoulder injury suffered against Stanford.

ULM senior QB Kolton Browning was believed to be out for the season with a torn quad suffered on Sept. 28. However, he made a surprising return last week and looked 100 percent healthy. Browning, the Sun Belt’s Offensive Player of the Year in 2012, completed 21-of-30 passes for 224 yards and four TDs without an interception. He also ran for 53 yards on 11 attempts in a 38-10 win over Ga. St. as a 15.5-point home favorite. The Warhawks went from 12-point favorites to 15.5 after the news of Browning’s return leaked out early last Friday. They are 3.5-point underdogs Thursday at Troy.

Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley is out for the rest of the regular season with a torn ligament in his thumb. Therefore, true freshman Josh Dobbs will make his first career start at Missouri. Butch Jones took the redshirt off of Dobbs at Alabama last week. He looked decent, completing 5-of-12 throws for 75 yards while also rushing three times for 19 yards. The Volunteers will be facing an extraordinary set of Missouri wide receivers and might do so with secondary players at less than 100 percent. Both of UT’s cornerbacks, Brian Randolph and Byron Moore, left the ‘Bama game with shoulder and ankle injuries, respectively. Randolph and Moore are both listed as ‘questionable’ but reports out of Knoxville indicated that both guys participated in Tuesday’s practice.

Missouri QB James Franklin is ‘doubtful’ vs. UT, but he’s getting closer to returning from a separated shoulder sustained in a win at UGA on Oct. 12. The Tigers play at Kentucky next week before an open date that precedes two monster games at Ole Miss and vs. Texas A&M. Franklin seems likely to return against the Rebels, if not sooner. RB Henry Josey (head) and CB E.J. Gaines (quad) are both ‘questionable’ vs. the Vols. Gaines has missed back-to-back games while Josey was injured vs. South Carolina. Although Josey is Missouri’s best RB, gamblers shouldn’t downgrade the Tigers’ offense because Marcus Murphy and Russell Hansbrough are more than capable of carrying the load. Josey has rushed for a team-high 573 yards and eight TDs while averaging 5.8 YPC, but his cohorts have been equally effective. Hansbrough has run for 449 yards and three TDs while averaging 6.6 YPC, and Murphy has 410 rushing yards, seven rushing scores and a 7.7 YPC average.

Stanford DE Ben Gardner is out for the season with a pectoral injury. The fifth-year senior was second on the team in sacks (4.5) and third in tackles for loss (7.5). Gardner, a second-team All Pac-12 selection the last two years, will be sorely missed by one of the country’s best defenses. The Cardinal is off this week before hosting Oregon next Thursday. LVH has the Ducks currently favored by 10.

Georgia RB Todd Gurley is ‘probable’ and expected to start Saturday vs. Florida in Jacksonville. Gurley has missed three consecutive games since spraining his ankle in the second quarter of a 44-41 win over LSU on Sept. 28. In UGA’s first three games and the first half vs. LSU, Gurley rushed 71 times for 450 yards and four touchdowns with a 6.1 yards-per-carry average. UGA starting safety Tray Matthews is also ‘probable’ after missing back-to-back games. He injured his hamstring in a 34-31 overtime win at Tennessee on Oct. 5. Also, WR Michael Bennett could be ready against the Gators. Bennett, who is considered ‘questionable,’  sustained a knee injury against the Vols.

Florida has lost eight players to season-ending injuries, but the concern this week is for two crucial members of the defensive line and QB Tyler Murphy. DT Damien Jacobs (concussion) and DE Ronald Powell (ankle) are both ‘questionable’ due to injuries suffered in a 17-6 loss at LSU on Oct. 12. Both missed the 36-17 loss at Missouri nearly two weeks ago. Injury information (at least the accurate type) has been extremely difficult to come by out of Gainesville this season. With that said, my read on the reports from UF beat writers is that Jacobs is more likely to play than Powell against UGA. Murphy sprained his shoulder in Baton Rouge and was clearly bothered by the injury in an ineffective performance at Missouri. Murphy didn’t throw at all last week or Monday to rest the shoulder, but he reportedly was a full participant at Tuesday’s practice.

Florida Injury Update: Add starting OT D.J. Humphries to UF’s injury list. He is out for the next 2-4 weeks with an MCL injury. Powell and Jacobs have been upgraded to ‘probable.’ However, remember that Powell was also ‘probable’ at Missouri and didn’t even dress out.

UCLA’s leading rusher Jordon James was in pads at Tuesday’s practice and might be able to return for Saturday’s home game vs. Colorado. James has missed three straight games with a high ankle sprain and has been sorely missed. UPDATE: James now ‘probable.’ The Bruins were also without three starting offensive linemen in a 42-14 loss at Oregon. Torian White was lost for the year in early October, while Simon Goines and Connor McDermott were unable to go against the Ducks. Goines and McDermott are ‘questionable’ against the Buffaloes. UPDATE: Goines is ‘out’ while McDermott remains  a question mark.

Colorado will have its best player at UCLA. WR Paul Richardson is ‘probable’ despite injuring his ankle in last week’s home loss to Arizona. Richardson has 50 catches for 914 yards and seven TDs, and he also threw a 75-yard TD pass on a trick play earlier this season.

Toldeo RB David Fluellen is the nation’s third-leading rusher with 1,060 yards to date. He was ‘questionable’ (leg) most of last week going into a game at Bowling Green. The Rockets beat the Falcons 28-25 but had to do so with Fluellen mostly on the sidelines. The workhorse RB was able to start and actually produced 61 rushing yards on just three totes, but he had to leave the game with an ankle injury. Fluellen is ‘questionable’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Eastern Michigan, which owns an atrocious 1-7 spread record.

Penn St. QB Christian Hackenberg, who has a 12/8 touchdown-to-interception ratio, will start vs. Illinois after suffering a shoulder injury in a blowout loss at Ohio St. last Saturday.

Illinois senior WR Ryan Lankford went down with a season-ending shoulder injury in last week’s blowout loss to Michigan St. at home. Lankford was the Illini’s leading receiver in 2012. He had 15 receptions for 308 yards and one TD this year.

Northwestern star RB Venric Mark will miss his sixth full game of the season at Nebraska. The Wildcats’ offensive struggles can be directly pointed at the absence of Mark, who was a first-team All-American as a special-teams player and a second-team All Big Ten RB in 2012.

Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez has been downgraded to ‘doubtful’ vs. Northwestern, prompting oddsmakers to move the number from 7.5 down to 6.5. The favored Cornhuskers will give the starting nod to redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong.

Rutgers RB Paul James (leg) will most likely miss a fourth straight game vs. Temple. James is getting closer to returning but remains ‘doubtful’ vs. the Owls. With an open date looming for the Scarlet Knights, they will probably hold James out and hope for him to be ready on Nov. 16 vs. Cincinnati. James ran for 573 yards and six TDs in RU’s first four games. By the way, RU was minus six in turnover margin in last week’s 49-14 home loss to Houston.

Colorado St. QB Garrett Grayson (14/6 TD-INT ratio) will start Saturday vs. Boise St. despite leaving last week’s win at Hawaii with an ankle issue. Grant Hedrick will get his second career start for the Broncos, who are 21-8 ATS as road favorites since 2008 (BSU is -7 at CSU). Hedrick wasn’t bad in his first start since Joe Southwick went down with a season-ending injury vs. Nevada two weeks ago. Although BSU lost 37-20 at BYU, it moved the ball effectively all night (499 yards of total offense) but couldn’t overcome three lost fumbles. Hedrick had one TD rushing and another passing, finishing the game with 232 passing yards.

Bobby Petrino has suspended his best player indefinitely. LB Andrew Jackson, a two-time first-team All Sun-Belt selection who had 122 tackles in 2012, won’t play against Ga. St this weekend. Chad Bishop of the Bowling Green Daily News reported that Jackson missed a mandatory team meeting, so I suspect Jackson will only be out for one contest. As for the Panthers, they have suspended four players for Saturday’s game against the Hilltoppers. The most notable absences for Ga. St. will be starting safety Kail Singleton and starting LB Jarrell Robinson.

Tulane QB Nick Montana (10/4 TD-INT) is ‘probable’ at FAU. Then again, Montana was listed as ‘probable’ last week until being downgraded to ‘doubtful’ on Friday. The Green Wave goes down to Boca Raton with a four-game winning streak both SU and ATS. Montana has missed the last two games.

UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers (11/4 TD-INT) is ‘out’ at Texas A&M with a shoulder injury.

Idaho starting QB Chad Chalich (5/3 TD-INT) is ‘doubtful’ for Saturday’s home game vs. Texas St. due to a shoulder injury. Taylor Davis is expected to get the starting nod for the Vandals.

Editor’s note: Feel free to check back for updates later in the week. Also, you can get updates via simple twitter searches before making wagers on Saturday morning.

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