Linebacker Powell tears ACL, out 4 to 6 months

Florida Gators defender Ronald Powell (7) celebrates after a tackle against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half of the Gator Bowl at EverBank Field on Monday, Jan. 1, 2012 in Jacksonville, Fla. Florida defeated Ohio State 24-17.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, April 9, 2012 at 11:59 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, April 9, 2012 at 3:03 p.m.

Saturday's spring game turned out to be costly for the Florida defense. Starting Buck end/linebacker Ronald Powell sustained a torn ACL in his knee and is expected to be sidelined for four to six months.

Powell will undergo surgery once the swelling in his knee goes down.

Powell, a true junior from Moreno Valley, Calif., injured his knee in the first half of Saturday's game. UF coach Will Muschamp said after the game he thought Powell had sprained his knee, but an MRI revealed much more significant damage.

Powell is the second starting UF defensive line starter to go down with an ACL injury. Nose tackle Dominique Easley injured his knee in the Florida State game and is on schedule to return to full speed sometime this summer.

If it takes Powell six months to fully recover, he could miss multiple games. His likely replacement at Buck is senior Lerentee McCray, who was held out of spring drills with a shoulder injury.

Powell's injury also could create an opportunity for five-star recruit Dante Fowler to see immediate playing time at the position this season. When Fowler signed with the Gators, he said he planned to come in and challenge Powell for the starting role in preseason camp.

Powell, the national defensive player of the year coming out of high school, had an excellent spring, emerging as UF's best pass rusher, and was praised numerous times by Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

In his first two seasons at UF, Powell played in 25 games, with 13 starts. He has recorded 57 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

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