Things Look Good For Julio To Play

One of Alabama's prime offensive weapons is wide receiver Julio Jones. Jones suffered a broken hand in Bama's loss to South Carolina last week. He has practiced the past two days, which is positive for his chance to play Saturday.

Alabama, 5-1 overall and 2-1 in Southeastern Conference games, hosts Ole Miss, 3-2 overall and 1-1 in league games, for Bama's homecoming Saturday. Kickoff will be at 8 p.m. CDT with television coverage by ESPN2.

Alabama Coach Nick Saban said Wednesday that Julio Jones had practiced the past two days with no problems. He said Jones would be evaluated each day. "He did catch balls," Saban said. "He did run routes. He did practice with everyone else."

Jones broke his hand early in the game. His wide receiver teammate, Darius Hanks, said, "He told us (teammates), but didn't tell the doctor until after the game. He was a little sore after the surgery Sunday, but he's tough."

Jones had a plate and screws inserted into the palm of his hand Sunday.

Even with his broken hand, Jones pulled in eight passes for 118 yards and one touchdown against the Gamecocks. For the year he has 32 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns.

Saban was asked to elaborate on how much Jones would have to use his hands in a game.

"I think you use your hands all the time," Saban said. "You use your hands to get off the block, when you block, you have to use your hands when you have tight coverage, especially if they play bump-and-run, and Ole Miss plays a lot of cover one, lot of man-to-man coverage, and he needs to leverage. And catching the ball is something you use your hands as much as anything. So far he has been able to do that. We did have him use his hands on bags today."

Saban also said that jack linebacker Courtney Upshaw, who has had some ankle problems, "is fine. He practiced today. He should be okay for the game if he doesn't have any recurring problems."

As expected, redshirt freshman right tackle D.J. Fluker will not play Saturday. Fluker suffered a severe groin injury against South Carolina.

"D.J. is making progress, but he has not been able to practice," Saban said.

Alfred McCullough, who has been a swing tackle (working at both left and right tackles), will get the start at right tackle. Saban said the probable back-up to left tackle James Carpenter would be Tyler Love. He said that John Michael Boswell, a guard who has played right tackle in the past, could be used. And, Saban said, true freshman Arie Kouandjio, who has not played this year, "has worked at tackle most of the year, so if it was necessary to play him, we'd try to get him ready to play."

BamaMag Top Stories