Clemson is heading into the week of its final ACC showdown with its top two quarterbacks banged up to various degrees.
D.J. Uiagalelei played nearly three full quarters of the Tigers’ rout of Connecticut on Saturday despite a sprained knee he sustained the previous week against Louisville. Backup Taisun Phommachanh didn’t make it nearly that long, exiting the game early in the second quarter after injuring his shoulder during Clemson’s second touchdown drive, his only possession of the game.
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney is taking a wait-and-see approach with both.
After the game, Swinney said he was hopeful Phommachanh’s injury wasn’t too serious, though he said Sunday he still didn’t have an update on Phommachanh’s status.
“I’ll say we’ll see where he is (Monday),” Swinney said.
As for Uiagalelei, he attempted a season-high 44 passes Saturday but wasn’t used in the running game nearly as often as he has been when he’s healthy. Uiagalelei was credited with two rush attempts, though one of them was a sack.
It was one of Uiagalelei’s more inaccurate days throwing the ball. He completed just 21 of his passes for a 47% completion rate, the third time this season he’s completed less than half of his attempts. He had eight straight incompletions at one point in the first half, but Swinney didn’t think the injury had much to do with his quarterback’s inaccuracies since he said it wasn’t an issue during practice last week.
Uiagalelei said at the beginning of last week he was still dealing with some pain in his knee. Swinney said he’s hopeful another full week will help it subside in time for Clemson’s final home game Saturday against No. 13 Wake Forest (9-1, 6-0 ACC), one the Tigers (7-3, 5-2) must win to keep hope alive of representing the Atlantic Division in next month’s ACC championship game.
Clemson trails the Demon Deacons, who have two league games left, by two games in the loss column atop the division standings.
“He’ll have another week of treatment, recovery, strengthening and all of that,” Swinney said of Uiagalelei.
Swinney also provided some updates on other players who were held out Saturday as a precaution or sustained injuries during the game, including receiver Justyn Ross (foot), offensive lineman Will Putnam (ankle) and defensive lineman Tre Williams (shoulders, other various injuries).
Here’s what Swinney said about some of them…
RBs Will Shipley (knee) and Kobe Pace (concussion) and CB Andrew Booth (stinger): “We were able to hold Booth, Shipley and Kobe, and hopefully that will pay off for us this week as well.”
S Jalyn Phillips (undisclosed): “He looked pretty good (Sunday). We’ll see where he is once we get out there and can start running around a little bit.”
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