Clowney in limbo: Strained muscle keeps USC star questionable for next game

jkendall@thestate.comOctober 6, 2013 

Junior defensive end Jadeveon Clowney remains questionable for Saturday’s game against Arkansas due to a strained muscle near his rib cage, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Sunday.

As for anything else, Spurrier is not willing to speculate.

Clowney, an All-American last year and a top prospect for next year’s NFL Draft, sat out last week’s 35-28 win over Kentucky after telling Spurrier just before the game that he was in too much pain to play.

After the game, Spurrier seemed upset by his star’s absence, but the coach said Sunday his only frustration was when and how he learned of Clowney’s decision.

“It was just we didn’t know he wasn’t playing until right before the game,” Spurrier said. “That is always a little frustrating. Usually the trainer or doctor comes and tells you this guy is out, and that did not happen last night. But on the other side if a player is in pain and can’t play, I don’t want him to play. None of us do.”

Asked if he thought Clowney was fully committed to the Gamecocks, Spurrier said, “You will have to ask him that. I can’t speak for Jadeveon.”

Spurrier added that he probably will make Clowney available for an interview at some point this week. Clowney has only been allowed to speak to the media immediately after games since the beginning of the season.

Clowney has 12 tackles and three sacks in four games this season. Last year, he set the school’s single-season record for sacks with 13, and he entered the season as a Heisman Trophy candidate. While the Heisman no longer is a possibility, Clowney still could be the No. 1 overall selection in next spring’s draft, ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said on SportsCenter on Sunday.

The No. 14 Gamecocks play at Arkansas on Saturday.

“We will have to wait through the week to see if he will be able to play,” Spurrier said. “Obviously he doesn’t have a broken leg or anything that would keep him out two to three weeks but if he has a muscle strain around the rib area, we will have to see how long it keeps him out.”

Spurrier had not spoken to Clowney on Sunday, he said at 2 p.m. An Associated Press reporter left a message on Clowney’s Twitter page seeking comment on the issue, but Clowney, who is not a regular user of Twitter, did not immediately respond.

“Hopefully with treatment and so forth he will be well enough to play this coming week but we will see,” Spurrier said. “It’s not a big story. He was in pain, couldn’t play. We will see if he’s going to be in pain and not play or not in pain and can play this week.”

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