Breaking: Antonio Morrison cleared to play

The ability to get on the field in game one is a bit of a surprise.

Senior Middle linebacker Antonio Morrison was injured severely in the bowl game in Birmingham in early January. With that, Morrison missed the entire spring practice schedule and has stayed completely away from contact this fall.

Surprisingly, Florida head coach Jim McElwain said at his Monday press conference that Morrison has been cleared and can play against New Mexico State in the Gators’ home opener on Saturday.

This has to be a huge lift for a defense that has some talent but not much depth at the linebacker position. Morrison is listed as a preseason All-Sec linebacker by some and he is by far the most experienced linebacker returning for the Gators.

Morrison finished the 2014 season leading the team in tackles with 101 and also six tackles for loss.

McElwain said they have been very careful with Morrison and that he is surprised at how quickly Morrison has recovered with what seems to be a devastating knee injury.

Morrison, junior Alex Anzalone, and junior Jarrad Davis look to be the three linebackers to get the most time on the field as the season starts.

Other injury news…

McElwain said they are holding out junior safety Keanu Neal from practice on Monday, but they will know more on him for game time on Wednesday. Neal was injured in practice a little over a week ago with an unnamed leg injury and has been slow to return.

Another possible big surprise was mentioned by McElwain as well. Freshman offensive tackle Martez Ivey, who just underwent arthroscopic surgery on Friday is under the same timetable as Neal. He will be held out of practice on Monday and McElwain will fill in everyone on Wednesday about his status, presumably for the game Saturday. Ivey was projected to be out 2-4 weeks recovering.

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