Injuries mount for S. Carolina
Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2002 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, September 30, 2002 at 11:47 p.m.
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina's top tackler and starting center need surgery. There's no sure date when its best receiver will return and the offensive line again resembles a patchwork of youngsters and converted defenders.
Gamecocks coach Lou Holtz had a bunch of good reasons to be down in the dumps on Monday.
"It's absolutely devastating," he said.
The biggest loss for South Carolina (3-2, 1-1 SEC) is middle linebacker Lance Laury, who damaged cartilage in his left knee in a 20-14 victory over Vanderbilt last week. Laury, who led the team with 56 stops, was scheduled for surgery and will be out indefinitely.
Center C.J. Frye, who hurt his left knee last week, also will have an operation.
"When either one of them will be back, I have no idea," Holtz said. "You just close ranks and go on without them."
Holtz expected to have senior receiver James Adkisson, who coaches considered the team's best threat before he was injured Sept. 7, back from his sprained left knee this week. But he has not been cleared to play yet, Holtz said.
Laury, a freshman, had been the Gamecocks' backbone all year long. He also handled defensive signals and was combining with linebackers Jermaine Lemon and Jeremiah Garrison to form a pretty strong unit.
"He was kind of down," said Lemon, Laury's roommate. "He said he was going to get it (his knee) scoped. He'll be back in a couple of weeks."
Frye's loss looks even worse because of injuries to starting guards Cedric Williams and Shane Hall. Both had neck strains against Vanderbilt and were examined Sunday. Both are still listed as starters but considered questionable for Mississippi State (1-3, 0-2 SEC) on Saturday.
Asked for his best option to deal with his banged-up offensive line, Holtz deadpanned, "Eight-man football?"
Cutler, a redshirt freshman, had completed 53 of 99 passes for six TDS and 720 yards. He also had six interceptions and had rushed for 205 yards.
Also suspended indefinitely was reserve wide receiver Grant Brigham, who had three receptions for 39 yards.
Coach Phillip Fulmer said Houston was hurt in the Volunteers' 35-14 win Saturday over Rutgers. He had surgery Monday and will be out 10 days, meaning he could be back in time to play against Georgia on Oct. 12.
Houston started the first three games for No. 10 Tennessee (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) but deeply bruised his thigh early in the Florida game Sept. 21.
Houston remains Tennessee's leading rusher this season with 193 yards on 28 carries and three touchdowns. He has not been tackled for a loss.
The teams will kick off at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., at 11:30 a.m.
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