The Florida Gators injury list, which was already extensive following a 31-10 loss to Arkansas, grew this week.
Jim McElwain added sophomore defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson (foot) was added to the list that already included four other starters in Luke Del Rio (shoulder/knee), Alex Anzalone (broken arm), Jarrad Davis (ankle) and Cam Dillard (knee). McElwain wouldn’t rule Jefferson out completely on Wednesday, but it doesn’t look good.
“I don’t want to lead you on, but I would say highly doubtful, no doubt about it,” McElwain said. “You know, whatever the MRI, of course they brought it up and I looked at it so I knew exactly what it was, right? You know, when there’s like a bunch of fuzzy stuff in there or whatever, it’s just not a good thing.”
Jefferson is eighth on the team in tackles (19), sixth in tackles for a loss (3) and tied for third with five quarterback hurries.
McElwain added that senior running back Mark Herndon (hamstring) and C.J. Worton (ankle) would be out this week as well. Herndon hasn’t played the last two weeks and only has two carries for three yards this season. This will be the third straight week Worton has missed. He has four catches for 45 yards this season.
McElwain wasn’t all doom and gloom Wednesday. Chris Thompson is likely to play this week after returning to practice. Thompson is a Gainesville native (Gainesville High School) and McElwain believes playing on senior day is what is pushing Thompson towards playing this week. Freshman receiver Tyrie Cleveland (hip) also returned to practice this week after leaving the game early against Arkansas.
With Del Rio sidelined, Purdue graduate transfer Austin Appleby will take the first team reps and freshman Feleipe Franks will be his backup. Franks has a one touchdown, three interception Orange and Blue Debut but has impressed the coaching staff throughout the year enough to earn the backup job over Kyle Trask.
“Austin will take the start,” McElwain said. “Feleipe will be the backup and he’s had a good week of practice and he’ll be ready to go as we move forward.”