Injury report headlines UF media day

Florida head coach Will Muschamp was happy with the state of his roster at SEC Media Days on July 16. The team was healthy and there were only two players that were expected to miss time at the start of fall camp with injuries. The last week changed that. The Gators now head into Friday's opening practice of fall camp with a banged up roster, especially on the offensive side.

"I worry about the things I can control and the guys that are on the field," Will Muschamp said, downplaying the string of injuries. "We're going to coach them hard and we're going to have a good football team.

"I cannot wait for tomorrow."

When the Gators open practice on Friday, the key absence comes at the quarterback position after Jeff Driskel had an appendectomy on Tuesday. He was present at media day on Thursday and wasn't favoring his right side after the surgery, but there are still questions about when he will be able to get on the practice field.

"It's definitely frustrating," Driskel said. "Injuries happen. It's part of life. I'm starting to feel better already. Recovery time varies for everybody. We're not going to rush anything, but I don't think I'm going to miss too much.

While he can't go through the physical reps of the practice, Driskel plans to plant himself behind the offensive huddle and take mental reps.

"We've done a lot of work in the summer, so when I get back I'm hoping we don't miss too much," the quarterback said.

Driskel started feeling some stomach pains Monday night. He ate dinner and tried to rest before roommate and former Florida football player Tommy Jordan told him that it could be appendicitis. A worried Driskel researched it but thought a night of sleep could cure the problems.

He woke up Tuesday morning with the same pain and spoke with the team doctors about it. Soon after, he was on his way to the hospital to have his appendix removed.

"He said he had a stomach ache," Muschamp said. "I hoped he ate a bad cheeseburger, but it wasn't."

The expectation is that the junior quarterback will return sooner than the original two-week estimate. However, Driskel was only the beginning of the injury list.

Muschamp said running back Matt Jones has been dealing with a "serious" viral infection for the last five days, and the team is giving him antibiotics and hoping his body will respond quickly. Teammates mentioned on Thursday that Jones already looks like he has lost some weight.

"I probably won't know definitively until end of next week on (Jones' timetable to return)," Muschamp said. "It's just one of those things that happened, but a guy that should be fine."

The Gators need Jones healthy

Jones is expected to carry the load at running back this season. If he isn't ready for the start of the season, redshirt junior Mack Brown and freshman Kelvin Taylor will be counted on to anchor Florida's running game.

"It's a huge opportunity for (Brown) to step in and get more touches, more carries and more opportunities," Muschamp said. "In that situation, you've got to be productive, and I think he will." Florida right guard Jon Halapio has a partial tear in his pec that he suffered on Monday. He doesn't need surgery to repair it, but the timetable for his return is also up in the air. He'll meet with a doctor on August 9 and get a better idea.

"He will be back," Muschamp said. "It's just I don't know exactly when."

Left guard Max Garcia, who sat out last season after transferring from Maryland, will miss the early part of fall camp after a back injury flared up recently. He'll meet with a doctor on August 6 and expects to be cleared then.

Offensive lineman Trip Thurman (shoulder) should be cleared during a doctor's appointment August 12. Offensive lineman Kyle Koehne will miss Friday's practice to be at a funeral back home and will return to practice Saturday.

Freshman defensive end Jordan Sherit is still limited because of a meniscus injury he suffered during his senior year of high school. Muschamp said he's between "70 and 75 percent" and won't be cleared for contact until August 19 at the earliest.

Injuries aren't the only thing keeping the Gators from fielding their full roster on Friday. The suspension of sophomore linebacker Antonio Morrison will remain through the beginning of fall camp. Muschamp was unsure how long he would be held out of practice.

There is some good news for the Gators. Linebackers Ronald Powell and Matt Rolin, both recovering from torn ACL injuries, are cleared to fully participate in practice. Linebacker Alex Anzalone (shoulder) missed most of spring practice but is ready for the fall.

"We'll monitor their reps as we work through it," Muschamp said of the three linebackers.

Powell returns to the practice field Friday for the first time since spring 2012

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