Five-star freshman offensive tackle Martez Ivey, a gem from the Florida Gators‘ talented 2015 recruiting class and potential starter along the offensive line, will undergo arthroscopic surgery on his knee and be sidelined for team’s season opener on Saturday, Sept. 5 (and possibly longer).
Head coach Jim McElwain addressed Ivey’s injury at a post-practice media availability on Thursday. “He’ll be back,” McElwain said. “I don’t know how quickly … but it doesn’t appear to be a season-ending [injury] or anything like that.”
Orlando Sentinel recruiting writer Chris Hays spoke with Ivey’s coach at Apopka High School, James Delgado, who related that Ivey suffered a “slightly” torn meniscus in his left knee that could keep him out of action for 2-4 weeks (1-3 games seeing as the season opener is a week away).
“He told me he was reaching the D-end on a play and the play ran right over the top of him and he kind of twisted it and then everybody landed on it,” Delgado told Hays.
McElwain was not as transparent about Ivey’s injury, of course, noting that the player complained of a “sore leg” Thursday morning. After an evaluation, “something existing” was found, and a scope was scheduled for Friday morning. “Found a preexisting thing that was kind of bothering him, [so] we’ll get that cleaned up,” he said. “Have no idea exactly when his return will be.”
Asked which knee Ivey injured, McElwain got even less revealing.
“It’s a leg. I don’t know … just one of them … I don’t know. I know it’s one of the two. And there’s a lot of leg there, too, so I don’t know that it’s a knee. It’s in the leg, so I don’t know.”
Florida’s offensive line, ravaged by departures, injuries and lack of depth, will certainly feel Ivey’s absence. Though McElwain had not named Ivey the starter at left tackle, the freshman was trending toward earning that position.
“He’s done a really good job. Here’s the one thing: Sometimes with freshman, it’s like the stage become awful big a little bit, just from fitting in, the pace, all the things that go on. He’s a guy obviously that you don’t think of him as really a freshman right now, just the way he’s playing. That’s great to see,” McElwain said earlier this week. “We kind of thought that when we recruited him. Sure enough, that’s kind of how it’s been.”
Instead, the Gators will likely go with sophomore David Sharpe on the left side against New Mexico State in two weeks.
Redshirt senior transfer Mason Halter and three-star freshman Fredrick Johnson have proven to be quick studies at Florida, according to McElwain, giving the Gators improved “flexibility up front” that should allow the offensive line to find at least some solid footing even with Ivey on the shelf. Florida also got redshirt freshman Travaris Dorsey (undisclosed leg injury) back in the rotation this week.