TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Suspensions, injuries and a few early departures will limit or sideline a few Alabama football players when spring football practice opens Friday.
Include Alabama’s top returning rusher to that list. Rising junior Eddie Lacy’s turf toe surgery will keep him out of all 15 spring practices, coach Nick Saban said. Reserve offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio also will miss the spring after knee surgery.
Duron Carter, a 2011 junior college transfer and son of former NFL wide receiver Cris Carter, is among three players suspended, Saban said. No reason was given for the action.
For Lacy and Kouandjio, their spring absences were expected after going under the knife. Lacy ran for 674 yards on 95 carries last season after hurting his toe in the fourth game of the season. He was on crutches for the Jan. 21 national championship celebration in Bryant-Denny Stadium.
“The doctors made the decision to do what they did and how they managed it last season,” Saban said. “They made the decision on what they should do to fix it for the future and that’s what we’ve done. But we knew that is a longer rehab when you have that kind of an injury.”
Kouandjio, the older brother of lineman Cyrus Kouandjio, hurt his knee before the season. Saban said both injured players have participated in the offseason conditioning program “to some degree.”
Another big name is just now rounding into form after suffering an ugly injury in the 21-0 beating of LSU in the BCS championship game. Saban said starting linebacker C.J. Mosley was cleared to run at full speed this week after dislocating his hip returning a third-quarter interception.
“He was running in the pool for a while, doing straight-line stuff, working on his own rehab program,” Saban said. “This week, he was cleared to go and do what everybody else is doing.”
The news was not so positive for Carter.
His name joined receivers Ronald Carswell and Michael Bowman, whose suspensions were announced late last season. Carter never received that tag before Tuesday, but he did not participate in practices leading up to the Jan. 9 BCS title game.
“It is what it is. They’re suspended today,” Saban said. “That’s all I know. If it changes, I’ll tell you.”
Carter missed all of last season for academic reasons after transferring from a Kansas community college. The 6-foot-4 former Ohio State receiver could be a big part of the Alabama passing game after the Tide lost the top four targets from last year’s national championship team. Three others with remaining eligibility opted to end their playing careers.
Fifth-year seniors Tyler Love and Undra Billingsley will graduate and forgo their fourth year on the football field. Love, a former five-star offensive lineman from Mountain Brook, played in two games last season but never cracked the starting lineup in three seasons. Billingsley appeared in all 13 games after moving from the defensive line to tight end but didn’t catch a pass.
Reserve punter Jay Williams also decided to leave the team, Saban said, to pursue a baseball career. A highly regarded member of the 2010 signing class, Williams never punted a ball in two seasons.
@BR Storylabel w/50graylabel:MISSING PRACTICE
RB Eddie Lacy (toe)
OL Arie Kouandjio (knee)
WR Duron Carter
WR Michael Bowman
WR Ronald Carswell
OL Tyler Love
TE Undra Billingsley
P Jay Williams