Banged up Rebels limping into bye week
OXFORD, Miss. – The busiest person on the Ole Miss campus this week is probably Pat Jernigan.
The head football athletic trainer is dealing with a bevy of Rebels’ injuries. The training room more resembles a M*A*S*H unit than a college football rehabilitation center.
During his Monday press conference, Ole Miss coach Matt Luke mentioned ten players who are dealing with a variety of ailments with a variety of severity.
Oddly enough, all the injured players are from the offensive side of the football. After Saturday’s hard-fought 24-17 loss to Texas A&M, the injuries were earned.
Fortunately, the players will have an extra week to heal as Ole Miss is off this weekend before visiting Auburn Nov. 2.
“The open date does come at a good time. Hopefully, we’ll get these guys rested and they’ll be ready to go against Auburn.”
Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke
Ole Miss (3-5, 2-3 in the Southeastern Conference) visits Jordan-Hare Stadium in a game that is vital for the Rebels’ bowl hopes. Auburn (6-1, 3-1) is ranked ninth in this week’s Associated Press poll and plays at No. 2 LSU Saturday night.
Freshman quarterback John Rhys Plumlee was the first player mentioned by Luke as he is having a minor procedure done this week on his knee. After rushing for 100 yards in three straight games, the Aggies held him to just to just 38 yards on 13 carries.
“He won’t practice this week, but we expect him to be available depending on how much we get him to practice next week.“
Coach Luke on John Rhys Plumlee
Two members of the backfield are also hampered by injury.
Freshman Jerrion Ealy, who had an electrifying 69-yard touchdown run, did not see action in the second half after it was announced he had flu-like symptoms. Monday, Luke said Ealy is in concussion protocol.
Senior running back Scottie Phillips had an MRI performed on his injured knee and the results were negative, so he is listed as probable for Auburn.
Receivers Elijah Moore (groin) and Braylon Sanders (hamstring) are also on the mend.
Many of the injuries were suffered on the offensive line. Alex Givens is dealing with a knee injury, while Ben Brown hurt his ankle Saturday and Eli Johnson is nursing an ankle and a severe case of turf toe. Johnson had been ruled out of the second half last week, but when Brown went down, Johnson returned.
Michael Howard is also trying to recover from a shoulder issue.
The most severe malady is to offensive lineman Bryce Mathews.
“He’s had an on-going back issue very similar to Alex Givens (who required surgery in the preseason),” Luke said. “They do epidural shots to help with that. He’s in the process of one of those, so again, we’ll see how the shot goes. If the shot works, he may be available, if it doesn’t, we may be moving toward surgery.”
Nine of the players were described as probable for the Auburn game. Sanders is the only one listed as day-to-day.
Steve Barnes joins The Rebel Walk staff as a senior writer and brings a trifecta of journalistic experience. As a writer, he has covered college sports for Rivals.com, Football.com and SaturdayDownSouth.com as well as served as a beat writer for various traditional newspapers.
He has been a broadcaster for arena football and several national tournament events for the National Junior College Athletic Association as well as hosting various shows on radio.
A former sports information director at Albany (Ga.) State University and an assistant at Troy and West Florida, he has helped host many NCAA conference, regional and national events, including serving five years on the media committee of the NCAA Division II World Series.
Barnes, a native of Pensacola, Fla., attended Ole Miss in 1983-84, where his first journalism teacher was David Kellum. The duo has come a long way since that time.
He will bring a proven journalistic track record, along with a knack for finding the out-of-the-ordinary story angles to The Rebel Walk.
Barnes continues to reside in Pensacola a mere ten minutes from the beach because he does have taste and a brain.