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In the realm of reading between the lines that are injury updates from Florida Gators head football coach Jim McElwain, it sure seems like the significant injuries suffered by players in his team’s defensive front seven have been mitigated by the bye week and rehabilitation.
Senior linebacker Jarrad Davis, the heart and soul of the unit, was diagnosed with a “badly sprained ankle” two weeks ago with no timetable given for his return. After Davis participated in some light work on Monday and rehabbed 24/7 through the off week, McElwain has now called him a game-time decision, though it sure sounds like Davis is efforting to put that decision in his own hands.
“Came back, took reps [Wednesday], obviously guys that’ll be one that it’s gotta be right with him, gotta be right with the doctors,” McElwain said. “It was really uplifting to the team to have him out there. Seeing him go through some things in the segments of practice … thought he moved pretty well. One of the tackling circuits, he got beat up by one of the sleds — sled bit back — but it was good to see him.”
That’s just the start of what seems to be good news for Florida.
Redshirt senior defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. — just last week McElwain questioned whether he’d even play again this season due to a thumb injury — “ran around a little bit” on Monday and now has his hand wrapped up. “he’s been in full pads doing everything he can to get some plays for the Gators, which is neat to see,” McElwain said. “I think he’s feeling comfortable with it.”
Redshirt junior DE Jordan Sherit (knee) “should be back and ready to roll” after a limited practice, and senior defensive tackle Joey Ivie (thumb) looks to be following that path, too.
Even junior tight end DeAndre Goolsby, who was listed as questionable with a hand injury, did “probably more than I anticipated” in practice, according to McElwain.
Florida’s defense being close to full strength is of great importance against Georgia, which boasts the most balanced attack the Gators will have faced so far this season. The Bulldogs should test the nation’s No. 2 defense on Saturday.