For the most part Clemson will enter spring practice in pretty good shape as it pertains to injuries, but there are a few Tigers who could miss some, if not all, of spring practice as they rehab and recover from injuries.
Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney announced on signing day there is a chance starting defensive tackle Nyles Pinckney will not be ready to practice when the Tigers open up drills on Feb. 26. The 6-foot-1, 295-pound defensive tackle is still nursing the same ankle injury that kept him out of the national championship game last month.
Pinckney injured the ankle on the first play of the Tigers’ win against Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.
“Nyles is a guy that is still nursing back his ankle. He is rehabbing through that, and we will know more once we get through the next three weeks,” Swinney said on Feb 5.
Pinckney is not the only player in danger of missing some or all of spring practice. Cornerback Andrew Booth could miss time, as well. Swinney said Booth had a knee cleaned up after the national championship game.
“He should be back. He might be a little limited early, but at some point, he should be able to get back out there and do what he needs to be able to do this spring,” Swinney said.
Swinney said Booth battled through the knee injury this fall, but the playing experience he got was very beneficial for his development. He played in 13 games last season, mostly on special teams, while recording six tackles and broke up one pass.
Swinney said linebacker Bryton Constantin, who re-tore his ACL last September, might be able to do some individual type work, but he will be limited in what he can do. Constantin originally tore his knee playing in a high school basketball game last February and then tore it again during his rehab work in September.
As for offensive lineman Blake Vinson, Swinney was not sure if he will be cut loose for spring practice. However, he does expect him to get a significant amount of football work in.
“It will be football movement type work. I don’t know if he will be cut loose to go scrimmage but hopefully, he will be able to get back in the groove of football, just the footwork, drills and things like that … snapping,” Swinney said. “He is one of those guys that we have crossed trained, so we are hopeful.”
Vinson missed the last 12 games in 2019 with a patella injury or otherwise known as a knee-cap injury. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound offensive lineman was redshirted in 2017 and played in 11 games in 2018 as a reserve lineman.
Prior to the injury, Vinson played in two games for the Tigers last season against Georgia Tech and Syracuse.
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