Remember all that talk this past summer about Jadeveion Clowney sitting out his final season at South Carolina in order to stay healthy for the 2014 NFL Draft? Clowney said he wouldn’t do that, but he may be thinking about his future a bit more, as he surprised the coaches prior to the start of the Gamecocks game against Kentucky.
According to reports, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward was caught off guard by Clowney when he said that bruised ribs were too much for him to play through in the team’s conference game. The team in general believed that Clowney was set to play, even though the injury limited during the week, and he was held out of Thursday’s practice.
While Ward withheld giving any more information or opinion on the decision, head caoch Steve Spurrier spoke with some snark and annoyance during his press conference after the team’s win even though he informed the media he didn’t want to get into it:
“I will just say he told me he couldn’t play. That his ribs hurt, couldn’t run. Said ‘I can’t play.’ I said, that’s fine, you don’t have to play. We’ll move on. He may not be able to play next week, I don’t know. We’re not going to worry about it, I can assure you that if he wants to play, we’ll welcome him to come play for the team if he wants to.
“If he doesn’t want to play, he doesn’t have to play, simple as that. We were thinking he was going to suit up and play. He did not practice Thursday. Couldn’t run. Said he couldn’t play. Any time a player says he’s hurt, can’t play, who are we to question? He doesn’t play.”
Spurrier then said he was unsure of Clowney’s availability for next week.
I don’t think that Clowney is milking his injury, as he was accused of earlier in the year when hew as dealing with a shoulder issue. He also is dealing with a bone spur issue with his foot. What is ironic is that if Clowney was to sit out the remainder of the year, NFL teams are now probably questioning his durability.
It may be frustrating for Spurrier to see his best player not suit up for a game, and he probably has the NFL-talk from earlier in the year in the back of his mind when Clowney shuts it down for a game. But let’s be honest, why play an injured Clowney against Kentucy, when he can be healthier for much mor difficult SEC games later on down the road?