Several Tiders Lost In Loss To Ole Miss

If anything, the news from Alabama’s loss at Ole Miss Saturday was even worse when the injury report came in Monday. Two Bama players had surgery following the game and are likely lost for the year.

As expected, Alabama tailback Kenyan Drake is all but definitely lost for the year. He had surgery after suffering a broken leg and dislocated ankle. Drake was taken to Birmingham before the end of the game in Oxford Saturday.

Linebacker Denzel Devall, who had been thought to have suffered a sprained knee and returned to the sideline in sweatsuit and on crutches, also had surgery.

The third injury was suffered by center Ryan Kelly, a high ankle sprain.

On Monday, Alabama Coach Nick Saban said, “Kenyan Drake and Denzel Devall both had surgeries. Kenyan is probably a little worse in terms of his injury and his recovery time.” Later he said that medical staff would be better able to answer the question, but he thought it would be “8-10 weeks before [Drake] really can start doing things that would allow him to be able to even think about being able to play football again.”

He compared the Drake situation to an injury fellow Tide tailback Derrick Henry had in spring practice two years ago and added it was “very similar to a surgery I had when I was a player, where they sort of break your leg (sort of!?) and your ankle’s dislocated and you actually pin the two together.”

Saban said, “Denzel probably is not as bad. There’s a possibility of maybe three or four weeks having a chance to get him back.

“Ryan Kelly has a sprained knee. He's probably going to be at least a couple weeks, depending on how his rehab goes as to when we can possibly get him back.”

The coach said, “All these guys have been really good players for us. They've made a great contribution to a team in many different ways.

“Kenyan’s got a lot of production for us and he’s done a really good job all year long. I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that when you lose a player like that it does have some impact. But I do think we have other players that can do those things. Now they’re going to get the opportunity to do it and we’re going to have to have some other people to step up.”

Saban also pointed out the special situation of an injured center.

“It’s not a position where you can just throw a guy in and say, ‘Okay, you play center now [even though it’s a position] you’ve never played before,’” Saban said. “You’ve got to snap the ball. You have to be able to step and snap the ball. Most players who haven’t played center are not accustomed to doing that. Bradley Bozeman and Josh Casher and J.C. Hassenauer are talented guys that we have that are centers. And we’re going to have to develop them at center. We can’t just move the right tackle to center and say, ‘Be a center.’ It doesn’t work that way. I wish we could, so we could sort of always have our five best guys out there, but the center is the one position that a guy has to – whether it’s shotgun snaps, quarterback-center exchange – there’s a lot of things that need to happen correctly before you ever go block the guy you have to block.”

Saban also reported that back-up offensive lineman Grant Hill “is still ill. We’re hopeful to get him back at some point this week. We’re kind of leaving that pretty much up to him and the medical staff to make that decision.

“As always when you lose players, it creates opportunities for other players. This is obviously a situation where we're going to need some other guys to step up big to take the roles of what these guys have been able to accomplish.”

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