Clemson could be without four defensive starters this week
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney said the second-ranked Tigers have a bunch of guys in the cool tub right now as they try to get healthy for what they hope is a long post-season stretch run.
Clemson, who will host The Citadel on Saturday for its final home game of the season, is coming off one of their more physical stretches of the season. In the last three weeks, they have played physical football games with Georgia Tech, NC State and Florida State in consecutive weeks.
Starters such as defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence (ankle), linebacker Kendall Joseph (knee), cornerback Mark Fields (foot), linebacker Tre Lamar (shoulder) and safety Tanner Muse (hand) are all banged up, and with the exception of Muse, are likely to sit out Saturday’s game at Death Valley.
“We are just trying to get them all healthy so we can make a good stretch run here,” Swinney said.
Swinney said Lawrence is progressing and the biggest thing for him right now is to get some rest. The 6-foot-5, 340-pound sophomore sat out last week’s win over Florida State and he will do the same this week.
“Hopefully, he will be ready to go next week,” Swinney said.
Of course the Tigers (9-1) play rival South Carolina in Columbia on Nov. 25.
Lamar is kind of in the same situation as Lawrence. His shoulder is much better than it was Sunday and it is kind of getting better each and every day.
“I feel good about him and his progress,” Swinney said.
As for Fields, he has practiced all week, but Swinney reports he is still not quite 100-percent, but he is getting back in the flow of things. Fields has missed the last three games.
Joseph, who also sat out the Florida State game, is doing well. Swinney says he is moving around and has made a lot of progress since last week.
“We hoped he could go this past Saturday, but he just was not quite there,” Swinney said. “These guys are smart enough to know when they can and when they can’t and he just could not quite do it.
“They don’t want to hurt the team. They are not selfish in that regard. They know that we have good depth. So he has made really good progress this week, too.”
Swinney said they did cut down the cast Muse has been wearing on his left hand since breaking a bone in it against Georgia Tech. Last week, they placed a screw in his hand repair the bone.
The redshirt sophomore now has more of his hand available to him. He has flexibility there and good range of motion.
“He will look semi-normal out there,” Swinney said. “You probably will not notice a whole lot with him so that is really good.”