AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn actually has a few healthy defensive players. It just doesn't seem like it. During his post-practice press conference Thursday, defensive coordinator Will Muschamp named seven different players who fell into one of three categories: out with an injury, limited due to injury or slowed earlier this spring by an ailment.
A few were already known: defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert has been held out this spring as he continues to rehab from knee surgery in November. Fellow defensive lineman Carl Lawson is being brought along slowly while he recovers from a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Yet another defensive lineman — Gimel President — has had a pulled groin. In addition, early enrollee defensive back Tim Irvin injured his hand in one of the first practices of the spring.
Then there are the conflicting reports on cornerback Jonathan Jones. Last month, Muschamp said the rising senior had been held out of contact drills due to a lingering foot injury. On Thursday, Muschamp had a slightly different story, appearing to say Jones hasn't participated in any fashion since the Tigers began practicing March 10.
"Jonathan hasn't done anything this spring. He’s going to be fine," the coach said. "We felt like he needs a total recovery from the foot and anytime he’s planting off that, it continues to irritate it. We wanted to shut him down."
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Two linebackers from the Tigers' 2014 signing class are dealing with issues of their own. Tre' Williams has been slowed by a nagging hamstring while Deshaun Davis suffered a pulled groin which Muschamp said hampered the Mobile, Ala., native for "two or three practices."
Still, for all the injuries already noted, every player is expected to be able to contribute this fall. The same can't be said for T.J. Davis. The rising fourth-year junior had surgery to repair a torn ACL prior to the Tigers going on spring break. When he'll return is uncertain.
Muschamp was "extremely disappointed" upon hearing the news of Davis' injury.
"He’s an outstanding young man who was having a very good spring. It’s certainly an area we couldn't afford to lose anyone," the coach said. "To have him go through that situation, we’ll support him. With Dr. Andrews and all the outstanding medical people we have here, we’re hopeful for a speedy recovery and we’ll see if we can get him back for the fall."