Backup running back Jimmy Johns practiced on Tuesday and should be ready to play on Saturday, coaches have indicated. In addition to his running back duties, Johns is a valuable member of the kickoff, kickoff return and punt coverage units.
"He's a big part of what we do special teams wise," Alabama special teams coordinator Dave Ungerer said. "Hopefully that won't be an issue. We gave him Sunday off. We'll work some other guys just in case but I think he's going to be okay from what I understand."
Running Back Coach Sparky Woods said he thinks Johns will be ready, but if not that Tim Castille would be the backup to Kenneth Darby. Castille is a fullback and halfback, and Woods Castille's experience gave him the edge over Ali Sharrief, a redshirt freshman with only a handful of plays this year.
"I wouldn't hesitate to put Ali in the game if we needed to," Woods said.
Running back Roy Upchurch was at practice Tuesday dressed in shorts. He will have surgery on Friday for the bone defect in his ankle, he said while coming off the field.
Another injury situation Ungerer has been dealing with is at placekicker, where Jamie Christensen hasn't been quite right since pulling a groin muscle in fall training camp. Christensen returned to full kicking duties three weeks ago, but has been plagued by soreness in his gluteus (butt) muscle brought about by the long layoff in kicking previously.
"I started off well and then had to make that tackle (on a kickoff)," Christensen said. "Then I kicked two out of bounds, and by then my leg was completely dead. Field goals really aren't bothering me right now, but kickoffs are a little bigger leg swing and are making me sore the next day."
Ungerer said Leigh Tiffin would have taken any additional kickoffs Alabama might have had against Ole Miss, but there were none. He said the kickoff duties are up in the air this week between Christensen and Tiffin.
DJ Hall said there was nothing that would keep him from playing in Saturday's game against Tennessee, even though he is dealing with a shoulder bruise originally suffered against Florida. Hall has four straight games of 100 receiving yards or more.
Receiver Keith Brown dressed but was held out of most of Tuesday's practice. Brown left the field sporting a brace on his left knee. He strained the knee last Saturday against Ole Miss.
"I haven't been able to use my hands," Jones said. "I could hold my arms out or give any resistance. In the Ole Miss game I felt real good. I still have a little pain but it's not like hit has been. I can do everything, now."