On the same day the Florida Gators learned their defensive leader, senior defensive tackle Dominique Easley, would require season-ending surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and medial meniscus, the team’s offensive leader underwent successful surgery on injuries he suffered during Saturday’s 31-17 victory over the Tennessee Volunteers.
Junior quarterback Jeff Driskel had surgery on his fractured right fibula as planned Wednesday. A plate was screwed into his fibula to heal the bone and keep it stable.
According to a school release, doctors performed two additional procedures on Driskel, repairing the ligaments on the medial part of his ankle and inserting screws across the syndesmosis that connects the tibia to the fibula in order to stabilize the ligament.
He will now be spending the next 4-6 months rehabilitating.
Florida will likely apply for a medical redshirt for Driskel at the conclusion of the season, which would give him two years of eligibility. The coaching staff hopes he will stay heavily involved in the program in the meantime.
“He’s still part of our team. He’s going to be involved. He’s just not going to be out there physically doing some things,” offensive coordinator Brent Pease said on Tuesday. “We got to find a way, as coaches, to keep him involved because I don’t want him just disappearing and not being around. He’s got to be around. He’s got to stay in tune with what we’re doing offensively.”
Pease related that Driskel offered his assistance to the quarterback room and specifically redshirt junior Tyler Murphy, who will start in his place.
“He was in our meetings [Monday]. He told Tyler and he said it to me, too, ‘Whatever you need me to do, you know I’ll be glad to help. I’ll be there for you.’ He’s a supportive teammate.”
The timing of the injury was particularly unfortunate for Driskel as Pease believed he was on his way to becoming a better quarterback despite some of his early-season miscues including three costly turnovers against Miami.
“He was continuing to improve. I could see improvements from him,” he said.
“What does this do to him? It will obviously set you back emotionally because I think he’s put a lot of time and investment into preparing himself, getting better. It’s something you got to overcome. It’s part of football. The good thing with Jeff is that he’ll overcome it and he’ll come back and he’ll be fine. He’ll just have to get back in the swing. It’s just going to take a few 4-5-6 months for that to happen.”
A source close to OnlyGators.com notes that Driskel may need an additional but minor ankle procedure shortly after the healing process and his rehab are completed. Doctors will determine whether that is necessary at the appropriate time.