UF starters on the mend


Florida running back Matt Jones (24) is expected back soon.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 5, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.

Florida tailback Matt Jones is back on his feet, and could possibly be back on the practice field in the next week or so.

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Florida running back Matt Jones (24) is expected back soon.

Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun

“Matt Jones is in the building and moving around a little bit,” UF coach Will Muschamp said Monday. “Hopefully, maybe try and see next week and try to get him active.”

The prognosis for Jones seems much brighter than last Friday, when Muschamp said UF was in “unchartered waters” in terms of knowing when Jones might be able to return from a viral infection and what kind of shape he could be in when he eventually returned.

Muschamp said he's seen his No. 1 tailback and has had a chance to talk to him.

“Good,” Muschamp said when asked how Jones looks. “He's fine. I think he lost about eight pounds, maybe eight-to-10 pounds of something like that.

“He looked good. He's moving around a little bit and was on the (stationary) bike the other day. We're just trying to get him back in the swing of things.”

Muschamp said Jones is over the infection that led to him being hospitalized about two weeks ago.

“Just recovering (now),” Muschamp said.

Muschamp's starting quarterback also continues to recover. Jeff Driskel underwent appendectomy surgery a week ago Tuesday and has been attending practices and meetings.

Muschamp said he'll have a better idea about Driskel's timetable for returning later in the week.

“Driskel has been out at practice,” Muschamp said. “He's obviously not doing anything physically right now. He meets with the doctor Wednesday or Thursday. We'll know more then.”

In the meantime, Driskel will continue to advise the other quarterbacks on certain things at practice, and continue to be a team leader, Muschamp said.

“He's talking to the quarterbacks and obviously going through the mental reads behind the offense as far as where to take the ball and where to go in the run game and take the ball down the field and those things,” Muschamp said. “I don't think (the appendectomy) has affected his leadership.

“Jeff's got great respect on this football team by his teammates and the job he did this summer. The feedback I've gotten from our players is what a great job he did with our football team.

“You talk to each player, especially offensive players. Most of the defensive guys, to a man, they know this is his football team. You earn that respect. He's certainly done that.”

There is no timetable for Driskel's return, but he may have one once he sees the doctor later in the week.

Two other injured offensive starters — guards Jon Halapio (partially torn pectoral muscle) and Max Garcia (back) — also are scheduled to see the doctor this week.

“Jon Halapio is doing very well,” Muschamp said. “He meets with the doctor, I believe, Friday. Max Garcia meets with the doctor (today).”

Muschamp reported only two other injuries Monday.

“(True freshman offensive tackle) Rod Johnson's knee flared up a little bit, but he ought to be back today or tomorrow. I may have to work him out (Monday) or (today).

“(Defensive tackle) Leon Orr sprained his thumb, but should be back (Monday). It's nothing serious. Everybody else has been doing pretty well. That's kind of where we are.”

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