"He will have surgery tomorrow for what is called a sports hernia," Shula said following Tuesday afternoon's practice. "The last thing you want to do is have surgery, but we felt like we had exhausted every other option."
Shula said that Kenneth Darby is currently in Philadelphia, Pa. and will undergo the procedure there, but he would not say who would perform the surgery. The prognosis for Darby's recovery is not on a firm timetable, but Shula expects Darby to be healthy in the fall.
"All I know, from listening to the doctors, is that he will be ready for the fall. For some guys it has taken six week, and for others it has been three months," he said.
Shula said the injury Darby has is similar to the one suffered by Todd Bates, who completed his eligibility with the Tide in 2004.
Bates had surgery just weeks before the 2002 season, but it is not known if Darby's injury is more or less severe. Bates' injury took approximately three months of rehabilitation before he was able to return to the field, but much longer - a year and a half - before Bates said the pain from the injury subsided.
Bates, who attended practice on Tuesday, said he would be there to help Darby through the recovery process.
"(Darby's injury) is the same type thing I had," Bates said. "I talked to him before he left and I'm going to be talking with him, coaching him through and letting him know why he's feeling the way he is. I had mine closer to football season and I was barely able to get back. Him having surgery now will hopefully give him time to be ready."
Other Injury News Is Mixed
There was some positive news on the Tide's injury front with the return of defensive tackle Justin Britt and offensive guard B.J. Stabler to action. Both had surgery in the off-season and had been held out of practice before Tuesday.
Justin did more than we thought he was going to do today," Shula said. "B.J. was moving around a little bit, but he is not ready for contact yet. The reports have been good on him."
Stabler was held out of 11-on-11 full contact team drills.
"I'm not where I want to be because I want to be in the first spot (at guard). I wanted to do more today but they didn't want me to re-injure myself," he said.
After one day trying to practice with the regulars on Saturday, defensive tackle Dominic Lee was back in orange Tuesday. Shula said Lee would be further evaluated by the medical staff in the coming days, and could undergo surgery again. He had surgery during the off-season to remove screws in his ankle.
Shula said Wallace Gilberry suffered a "hip flexer" that was thought to be minor.
After Further Review
After reviewing film of Saturday's practice, Shula singled out Antoine Caldwell as having "a really good practice Saturday" working primarily at left guard. Caldwell also switched positions with center JB Closner for a handful of plays.