Gators banged up on defensive line, Del Rio closer to returning

The Florida Gators are pretty banged up on the defensive line heading into the big matchup with LSU this weekend. There is a possibility all four starting defensive linemen could be out for the game. On the other side of the ball is possibly better news as quarterback Luke Del Rio has a chance to be back for the contest.

Jim McElwain fired off the injury report Monday at his media session and it didn’t sound good for the defensive line. Joey Ivie will miss the next few games as we knew and missed the contest with Vanderbilt. But the list got longer.

McElwain was hoping to have starting defensive end Jordan Sherit back this week, but he says his junior end will now have arthroscopic surgery on his knee and miss the game against LSU.

“We tried to get Sherit through the week. We're going to go ahead and get him scoped, so he won't be able to go. That was a game-time decision. We felt like, you know, depending on how he felt, he just, he wasn't able to do it. So we'll get that cleaned up. He'll be out a little bit."

Caleb Brantley hurt a finger badly in the contest with Vanderbilt and McElwain said he isn’t sure if his starting defensive tackle will be able to play.

"Caleb Brantley's sick, hurt his finger," McElwain said. "I don't know whether he'll play."

Starting defensive end Bryan Cox has an undisclosed injury or illness and McElwain says he is limited right now, but thinks he will play.

"Bryan Cox was limited," he said. "It means so much to this guy, it would be hard for me to say that he would be out. He’s not going to play as much as he has, but he’ll continue to give us everything he has."

That means all four starters could miss playing time or be out for the LSU contest, one where the Tigers bring in a terrific pounding running game. Not a great sign.

McElwain did have a little better news when it came to quarterback Luke Del Rio. The season starter at the position looks to be mending well and McElwain said this is the game he was targeting to be back. It is still up in the air if that happens, but McElwain said, “He’ll go some today. He’ll go more tomorrow and Wednesday.’

McElwain said he will continue to go with senior quarterback transfer Austin Appleby if Del Rio is not ready. 

Other big news could come from the offensive line. Starting left tackle David Sharpe hurt his shoulder against Vanderbilt and may miss Saturday. McElwain said if that happened they could slide left guard Martez Ivey to left tackle and right guard Tyler Jordan, who just returned after having eye surgery could be moved to left guard.

"Sharpe, we’ll see," McElwain said. "He’s got a shoulder. We’ll see what we can get out of him. If not, we can move Tez out there. We’ve got, shoot, Tyler Jordan back obviously. So I was thinking we can move him over there and keep Fred at right. We’ve got some options there and we’ll see what happens as the week goes on."

Senior receiver Chris Thompson pulled his hamstring and junior receiver Brandon Powell hurt his ankle. Both are day to day at this point. Starting linebacker Alex Anzalone will have a splint on his hand but will play Saturday.

It is a banged up group for sure and just as the meat of the SEC schedule starts to hit.  Some new faces are going to have to step up.

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