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Florida State starting guard <b>Matt Meinrod</b> will miss the rest of the season due to injuries sustained during Friday night's 16-10 loss to Miami. However, the injury to cornerback <b>Antonio Cromartie </b> appears to be less severe than originally anticipated. Additionally, both David Castillo and Bobby Meeks are closer to returning to full health, the plan being to get them ready in time for Saturday's home-opener against Alabama-Birmingham.

Monday's injury report came with mixed emotions for the Florida State coaching staff after it was discovered that starting guard Matt Meinrod will miss the rest of the 2004 season after tearing this anterior crucial ligament and suffering a grade two medial collateral sprain during the third quarter of Friday night's loss to Miami.

Meinrod is projected to undergo surgery sometime in the next three weeks.

Sophomore Cory Niblock replaced Meinrod for the final third of Friday's game and is the projected starter in Meinrod's absence. Saturday's game against UAB will be Niblock's first collegiate start.

"I'm happy with the way I played against Miami and I'm excited about starting," Niblock said.

There was some good news, however, regarding injured players Antonio Cromartie, David Castillo and Bobby Meeks.

It appears the injury to Cromartie's right hip is less severe than originally anticipated. He attended practice on Monday, but his participation was limited to stretching. Bowden said they plan to examine Cromartie's injury on a day-to-day basis to determine whether he'll be ready for Saturday's game.

"It feels a little bit better. The first time I hurt it didn't hurt as bad as it did in the game. We're gonna take an MRI on it and find out later this week what's going on," Cromartie said.

Cromartie initially injured his right hip during preseason workouts . He re-aggravated the injury this past Friday when he fell defending a play against Miami, landing with all his weight on the hip.

Before leaving the game against Miami, Cromartie returned a fumble for a touchdown, the first of his career and intercepted a pass from Miami QB Brock Berlin.

The plan for offensive linemen Castillo and Meeks is to give them an increasing number of reps over the next week in hopes of having them ready in time for Saturday's game.

"I'm anxious to see tomorrow, when (Meeks) is in pads, how much pressure he can put on that ankle," Bowden said.


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