Florida Gators redshirt junior Will linebacker Jelani Jenkins, who broke his thumb in week two action against Texas A&M and has missed his team’s last two games, will return to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp announced while appearing on Sports Radio 1010XL in Jacksonville, FL on Friday afternoon.
A veteran defender who registered five tackles and a sack over the first two games of 2012, Jenkins attended his scheduled meeting with a specialist on Friday and had the surgically-inserted pin removed from his thumb.
Muschamp said on Wednesday that trainers were “optimistic” about Jenkins being able to play against LSU though he would have to do so in some form of a cast. He confirmed Friday that Jenkins will be allowed to return to practice on Tuesday or Wednesday to see how he handles playing with a large cast on his hand.
His pain and comfort levels will determine if and how much he plays next weekend.
“I certainly hope [he can play],” defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said on Wednesday. “He provides some real speed for us on the field. I think the guy’s a terrific blitzer. He can certainly match up, tight end-wise, covering when we get into our nickel package. And then just his experience playing linebacker, I don’t think you can overlook that.”
Muschamp, who spent Friday in Jacksonville recruiting before appearing on the radio, is set to attend the Glades Day-Yulee high school football game in the evening. The contest features two of the best 2013 running backs in the state – four-star Florida commitment Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) and four-star Alabama pledge Derrick Henry (Yulee, FL).
Asked during his interview about his relationship with former Gators RB Fred Taylor, Kelvin’s birth father who is set to be inducted into the Jacksonville Jaguars’ ring of honor on Sunday, Muschamp said the two go way back.
“He’s a great Gator. I consider him a friend. He’s a guy that’s come and spoke to our football team on several occasions and just gets real with them,” he said. “Unfortunately, I had to tackle him when I was a senior and he was a freshman. I didn’t come in on the good end of that. I was on the long list of people he ran over.”