Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain confirmed Wednesday during his final media availability ahead of the team’s season opener on Saturday that junior safety Keanu Neal and freshman offensive tackle Martez Ivey will both miss the 7:30 p.m. game against the New Mexico State Aggies due to injuries suffered during practice.
Neal and Ivey were both listed as “doubtful” by McElwain, who just hours earlier Wednesday described the players as “questionable” for the contest.
“I will say this,” McElwain noted, “they are recovering at a good pace.”
While Neal has been dealing with a completely undisclosed leg injury for the last two weeks, Ivey reportedly had arthroscopic surgery on a “slightly” torn meniscus that will sideline him for the opener and possibly up to four weeks.
Neal was almost assuredly going to start at safety for the Gators, while Ivey was a likely starter along the offensive line despite being listed second on the left side of the team’s depth chart behind redshirt senior transfer Mason Halter.
The duo will join three other potential starters on the sidelines for the opener. Redshirt junior defensive end Alex McCalister, redshirt junior defensive back Marcus Maye and senior wide receiver Latroy Pittman Jr. will all miss the game while serving a suspension for violation of athletic department policy. McCalister is Florida’s top returning pass rusher and a sure-fire starter, while Maye was a likely starter and Pittman was in the mix to begin the contest at wideout.
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