Head coach Bobby Petrino said afterwards that the injury appeared to be a dislocated ankle. If that proves to be true, Petrino expects Gragg to need surgery that would end his season.
With starter D. J. Williams sidelined by what is thought to be a "tweaked ankle," the work with the first two units was split between Ben Cleveland, walk-on Joseph Henry and true freshman Austin Tate.
Also missing practice with what are believed to be minor injuries were offensive tackle DeMarcus Love (knee) and offensive guard Grant Cook (ankle). Both are expected back soon.
Wade Grayson moved from center to Cook's guard spot, a position he started all 11 games last year. Grant Freeman switched from the backup at weakside tackle to Love's strongside spot.
Elton Ford was also injured during the early part of the live work, banging into Lance Ray on a reception over the middle. Ford missed about 30 minutes while they checked out his neck. He later returned to the live work and finished the practice with the number one unit.
Bobby Petrino said Sheppard was held out because he was reckless in practice Tuesday, putting his teammates at risk.
Petrino said he'd be surprised if Grayson didn't have a really good day with the first unit at guard. He said he knew Grayson had probably been "looking at me funny out of the side of his mouth" for the time he's spent at backup center the past week after starting every game at guard last season.
Petrino said Williams will probably return to practice soon. He sustained his ankle injury in a one-on-one tackling drill with Ford earlier this week.
Among those having good days: Ryan Mallett and Tyler Wilson at quarterback, Michael Smith, Ronnie Wingo and Broderick Green at running back and most all of the wideouts, possibly led by Cobi Hamilton. Hamilton, a true freshman, had several long plays.
Interestingly, Petrino had pretty much lost his voice by the time he met with the media. He said that may have been because of the extra activity he got at the start of Tuesday's practice ... running the scout team offense at quarterback to demonstrate the option offense. He said he was pooped out after that workout.
With D. J. Williams and Chris Gragg out at tight end Wednesday, Ben Cleveland and walk-on Joseph Henry both had extended work with the first and second team, along with true freshman Austin Tate. Cleveland's blocking was solid. Henry made two nice catches and had a solid block on a long run by Broderick Green.
It was perhaps the best practice by the offense of fall camp. It left smiles on the face of Petrino, along with quarterback Ryan Mallett, running back Michael Smith, offensive guard Mitch Petrus and tackle Grant Freeman. Mallett said it was similar to a good practice the offense had Tuesday morning and much better than the afternoon practice Tuesday.
"I've been saying that when we execute we have a chance to do some good things," Mallett said. "We executed this morning. That's what we have to do every time. There are things we can do to improve, but that was better and what we expect of each other on offense.
"But, there are going to be days when the offense does better and there will be days when the defense does better. Today it was the offense."
Petrino was pleased with the end of the workout for the first team offense and defense. He put the first teams on one sideline, with the second and third units on the other sideline to simulate a game-like atmosphere at least on the sidelines. The ball was put at the 25-yard line in a couple of series that would simulate overtime. The first team defense did not allow the second offense to score a touchdown, while the first offense did score a touchdown. Petrino said, "I was pleased. We won the overtime."
There was a 35 play scrimmage that combined the play-action scheme and blitz packages early in the live hitting, then about 35 to 40 plays of live scrimmage thereafter where they moved the chains. Here are the stats from that second segment:
Quarterbacks: Mallett — 8 of 10, 113 yds TD, Wilson — 6 of 8, 119 TD.
Running backs: M. Smith - 7 carries, 49 yards, 2 TD, K. Davis - 1 for 4, Green - 3 for 66 and a TD, Curtis - 2 for 11, Wingo - 1 for 1, Johnson 1 for 2.
Receivers: Adams - 3 catches, 29 yards, Wright - 2 for 43 and a TD, Childs - 2 for 45, Hamilton - 1 for 42 Henry - 2 for 21 and a TD, Cleveland 1 for 22, Wingo 1 for 11, Crawford 1 for 14, K. Davis 1 for 5.
On the early part of the scrimmage where the chains didn't move and the ball was returned to the same line of scrimmage, Mallett completed 5 of 9 passes during that stretch, Tyler Wilson completed 3 of 5. Nobody scored a touchdown during that stretch, but Cobi Hamilton came close on that play down to the 1.
Cleveland had a good day, including one catch for 22 yards when he bounced off a big collision in a sandwich between Anthony Leon and Tramain Thomas. Cleveland had missed some time the previous day with a "neck stinger" and survived that big hit by Leon with some new pads built under his shoulder pads.
On that big hit by the juco transfer safety, Cleveland said, "Leon is a great player. He read the coverage real well. Ryan hit me in the second window, and (I) just curled up in a ball and said a little prayer and the Lord blessed me right there with that big ole man out there."
On all of the injuries, Cleveland said, "Anything can happen. It's the game of football. It takes special players to come play football, just not everyone can do it. It's a grueling sport; you've just got to be ready at all times."
Mallett heaped praise on his offensive teammates, noting running backs Ronnie Wingo and Broderick Green "brought the hat today and were running through people making extra yards.
"The offensive line performed today, and that's what we got to have. That's where it all starts, is with them. And as long as they're doing that, we're going to be fine.
"You can see that some of the normal guys weren't in there (on the offensive line) today, and the guys filling in did a great job. We had time, we had good holes to run the ball and that's what you got to have is a lot of depth when you play in the SEC."
As far as the offensive highlights dominating the day, Mallett said, "It's going to be like that somedays. The defense is going to win some, the offense is going to win some and both sides want to win every day. So we can't get that messed up. But just going out there competing, that shows how good your football team is going to be when guys can - it's not just dominating one side of the ball every day."
Petrino thought it was a "good physical practice" in the stadium Wednesday morning.
"I liked the practice," he said. "It was the first time we went 11-on-11 and had live tackling. We did a little tackle drill the other day the first day we were in pads. But this was the first time it was really live.
"It started out with the run play-action part of it and I thought the first offense got the better of the first offense.
"Then we went to a blitz session that was relatively even. Then, we had a session where the offense got after the defense and had some big plays which we can't allow on defense.
"We had guys flying around making plays on offense. The O-line did a pretty good job of blocking up front.
"Then, we finished with overtime and that's a good thing."
Asked if the second team's success against the first defense bothered him, Petrino said, "That's a concern, but we had Greg Childs in there with the twos and he's not really a second teamer. It was a good throw and catch one-on-one. That's the thing about it, you have to be able to stop the big plays. We caught them one-on-one and it was a great throw and catch."
The quarterbacks had a good day.
"We expect a lot out of them," Petrino said. "We expect a lot out of them. We grade them tough. They had a better day today. Had a better day yesterday morning, not as good yesterday afternoon. They still have a ways to go."
On Cobi Hamilton, Petrino said, "He's very, very talented. He's got to stay in there and practice hard and understand how you work.
"But he can certainly make plays. He's big and fast and has very good hands. He probably adjusts to the ball and controls his body as well as anybody. He just has to learn how to practice hard every play."
Malcolm Sheppard didn't scrimmage. Petrino wasn't pleased with some situations in the "shorts and pads" practice Tuesday.
"He didn't practice like he should yesterday," Petrino said. "He put a couple of guys in jeopardy of getting injured. You have to know how to practice and keep the guy across from you healthy so I didn't let him practice today."
With strong tackle DeMarcus Love injured, Grant Freeman took his turns with the first unit, moving from weakside tackle.
"I've really liked the development Freeman has shown," Petrino said. "He had a good spring and a great summer. He's gotten stronger and is a good athlete. When he came in here he was one of those tight ends you hoped in two or three years grew up and become an offensive lineman.
"I think he's really done that and made a lot of strides. He stepped in there and did a good job. In yesterday's practice he graded better than Matt Hall.
"I still like Matt Hall. I think he's made great strides and is certainly big.
"That second group of linemen that stepped into the second group is certainly a big, big group. I'm happy we've got big bodies to work with. They are all working hard, competing. We are grading these guys. Whoever practices the best moves up and goes ahead of the other guys."