Battered and bruised was not common descriptions for Alabama football players last fall.
Health issues caused less than a handful of missed starts during the unblemished regular season a year ago.
The training room, however, was plenty busy Monday as lingering effects of Saturday’s 40-14 win over FIU were still being felt in a few joints and muscles.
For Damion Square, Monday meant prepping for surgery.
An MRI revealed his fourth-quarter knee injury was a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That means a quick end to his redshirt freshman season and a date with a surgeon today.
The prognosis for Julio Jones and Roy Upchurch was much better. Both dressed for Monday’s practice although in black non-contact jerseys. The two rode exercise bikes during the media-viewing period of the practice that was moved indoors because of rainy weather.
Jones, who was spotted walking with a slight limp into the football complex earlier Monday, is day-to-day with a bruised knee suffered in the first half Saturday.
“He has no other significant damage,” coach Nick Saban said. “As soon as the trauma settles down, he’ll be OK. There is no telling how long it will take, but it shouldn’t take more than a few days.”
Upchurch’s high ankle sprain will take a little longer to heal, although Saban also gave him the all-encompassing “day-to-day” label as well.
The nature of the injury makes a return date hard to pinpoint.
“It could be a few days or it could be a few weeks,” Saban said.
The most recent health issue is just another on the long list for Upchurch, who had neck surgery last season and missed practice time in the preseason with a pulled groin.
Although it may take time, he will return to the field this fall.
The loss of Square is frustrating, Saban said.
Although listed third on the depth chart at Jack linebacker, Square was making progress after moving from defensive end. He had one of the Tide’s nine quarterback hurries on the drive prior to hitting the turf with the season-ending injury.
Square’s main responsibility was playing defensive end in nickel and dime situations.
“He was redshirted last year and was a promising freshman and really played well in the game and we were hopeful he would give us great depth, but this will give somebody else and opportunity to go out and play,” Saban said.
Junior Milton Talbert and true freshman Darrington Sentimore, both listed as defensive linemen, were the two players Saban named as potential fill-ins for Square. Defensive end Brandon Deaderick is also expected to play this week after missing several practices last week mourning the death of his grandmother.
North Texas, which comes to Bryant-Denny Stadium at noon Saturday, also has a sizeable injury problem.
Starting quarterback Riley Dodge will miss the game after suffering a second-degree separation of his non-throwing shoulder in Saturday’s 31-30 double-overtime loss to Ohio. The son of Mean Green coach Todd Dodge had completed 12-of-20 passes for 117 yards when the injury knocked out of the game.
His injury means Nathan Tune will step into the No. 1 role as he did to finish off the Ohio loss when he went 9-for-15 for 69 yards.
Left tackle Victor Gill will miss Saturday’s game, also due to a separated shoulder, The Denton Record-Chronicle reported Monday afternoon.