Spurrier sends message to Clowney, other injured stars

Clowney, Byrd and Ellington miss practice

dcloninger@thestate.comAugust 12, 2013 

Jadeveon Clowney has missed a handful of practices over the last week.

BY DWAYNE MCLEMORE

Injuries are no laughing matter, but Steve Spurrier apparently thinks that a few minor ones shouldn’t keep his star players from practicing.

So much so that he publicly said that if the injuries don’t heal soon, three of his biggest playmakers and team leaders may not play in the Aug. 29 season opener against North Carolina.

“We got a bunch of hurt guys that act like they’re really hurt,” Spurrier said after Monday’s evening practice, the last of No. 7 South Carolina’s first two-a-day session. “Right now, they may not play.”

He was referring to leading returning receiver Bruce Ellington, who’s been out with a hamstring problem, projected starting receiver Damiere Byrd, who recently pulled his hamstring, and the player that nobody in the Gamecocks’ fan base wants to hear mentioned with injury or anything else other than “furthering his All-America campaign” — defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.

Clowney missed one practice with a slight knee injury and has been out for some recent sessions with a bad shoulder. Spurrier mentioned all three on Monday.

“Damiere and Bruce tried to run this morning, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re out the first game, the way their hamstrings are coming around,” Spurrier said. “So we’re planning on playing, maybe without them. And right now, Clowney’s got a bruised shoulder. If it doesn’t come around real soon, we may play without him in the first game.”

Spurrier pointed out that there were several other receivers and defensive ends all practicing on Monday while those three didn’t. All three players worked out in the weight room and walked to and from the locker room with no sign of limp, struggle, extra wrap, brace or crutch. Clowney even stopped to joke around with a few reporters.

Since benching a Heisman Trophy candidate and a pair of his top receivers seemed far-fetched, Spurrier was asked if he was trying to light the proverbial fire under the three. Spurrier excused himself from the pack by saying, “I don’t know. Why don’t y’all go talk to them? I’ll handle it, I’ll handle it. I’ll handle those guys.”

As he walked away, he tossed another line over his shoulder.

“All I’m trying to say, if they can’t play, we got plenty of guys who can play, so we’re not depending on them.”

Steve Spurrier

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