Alabama Coach Nick Saban said that wide receivers Tyrone Prothro, Aaron McDaniel, and Jake Jones and defensive tackle Byron Walton will not be playing football. He said it was the decision of the medical staff, which determined that long-term prognoses for the men playing football is that it is a remote possibility. He did not completely close the door on the return, saying there is an appeal process if circumstances change, but the reality is that the four will not play again.
Prothro was having an All-America career when he suffered a horrendous leg fracture late in a 31-3 win over Florida in 2005. This is his fifth year at Alabama. The Heflin native is best known for his spectacular reception near the end of the first half against Southern Miss in 2005. He caught the ball over the back of the defender, leading to a touchdown that closed the Golden Eagles' lead to 21-17 as Bama rallied for a 30-17 win.
That play was chosen in a national poll as the ESPN Pontiac Game-Changing Play of the Year.
McDaniel, a high school quarterback at Fort Payne, came to Alabama with the possibility of playing either wide receiver or defensive back. He was redshirted in 2005, saw limited duty last fall, then suffered what proved to be a career-ending knee injury in practice prior to the Arkansas game last year.
Jones, the son of former Crimson Tide wide receiver star Joey Jones who played for his father at Mountain Brook, was unable to participate late in his redshirt freshman season last year. He was unable to go through off-season work or spring practice because of a leg injury.
Walton, a sophomore from Trinity West Morgan, was redshirted in 2005 and had only limited playing time last fall and in the spring. Saban was reluctant to try to explain Walton's problem, but made it clear that it was heat-related, had been on-going, and that it could have serious repurcussions.
Players placed on medical scholarship do not count against the overall limit of 85. Under ordinary circumstances such players can never return to the football team and cannot have any football related activity (such as student coach). They can continue to have rehabilitation work in the athletics department and receive academic assistance.
Also on the injury front, it was revealed that freshman Nick Gentry, a 6-1, 263-pound defensive lineman from Prattville, will not work with the team in fall camp because he is rehabilitating from shoulder surgery. Saban said it was a high school injury that Alabama's medical staff recommended be repaired. Gentry has been in Tuscaloosa this summer and will be in school, but will not be part of the 105 participating in early fall camp. He will continue in rehabilitation and Saban said it is not a season-ending injury.