In speaking on the status of his team’s overall health, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney cracked a joke that might not be too far from the truth.
“We had a team out there in yellow (during Monday’s practice) that could probably go win bowl games,” Swinney quipped during his weekly radio appearance Monday night, referencing the jersey color designated for injured players who are held out of contact.
Clemson has two weeks to prepare for its next game at Syracuse, which won’t be played until Oct. 15. A critical part of that process for the Tigers will be using the extra time to get healed up after their injury list grew longer during their win over Boston College on Saturday.
One of those players, Will Taylor, won’t be back this season. The freshman receiver tore his ACL early in last week’s game and will undergo season-ending surgery, but Swinney voiced optimism that most if not all of Clemson’s other ailing players who could return this season will do so by next weekend.
“The open date is coming at a good time for us,” Swinney said. “We’re a M.A.S.H. unit. We’ve got a lot of guys that we’d have a hard time probably playing this week. I feel like we’ll be in good shape come Sunday.”
Receiver Justyn Ross and tight end Braden Galloway are both going through concussion protocol, Swinney said, after they took hits to the head and neck area early during last week’s game. Swinney said the decision to remove Ross from the game was more precautionary given his recent spinal fusion surgery, but he said he expects both to return to practice either at some point this week or early next week.
“Galloway I think was a little more concussed,” Swinney said. “Ross, he got hit right there in the head area. And obviously with his situation, (the medical staff) is going to be cautious with him. But he’s good. Looked great (Monday), so I feel good about that.”
Offensive lineman Will Putnam missed Saturday’s game with a toe injury, but Swinney said Monday the Tigers’ right guard is “a little better.” Swinney said he’s hopeful Putnam can start practicing again early next week.
Cornerbacks Malcolm Greene, Mario Goodrich and Fred Davis were also held out. It’s the second straight game Greene has missed at his nickel spot with a shoulder injury. Swinney said Greene still isn’t fully healthy but that he was ready to play Saturday if needed and has been practicing.
“(Greene) is one of the toughest kids we’ve got and definitely a guy we’ve got to get in there more,” Swinney said.
Goodrich, who started the first four games opposite Andrew Booth on the outside, is dealing with a groin injury while Davis has missed back-to-back games with a sprained ankle. Swinney said they’re in the same boat with receivers Frank Ladson Jr. (groin) and E.J. Williams (hand), who left Saturday’s game after getting banged up. Williams later returned.
“We anticipate all of those guys being able to go, but we’ll see where we are at the end of the week,” Swinney said.
Meanwhile, starting tight end Davis Allen was unavailable for most of last week’s game after being ejected for targeting in the first quarter. But since it happened during the first half, Allen won’t have to miss any time against Syracuse.
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