Florida confirms Easley out for season
Published: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 11:35 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 25, 2013 at 7:11 p.m.
The potentially devastating news that many had been anticipating all afternoon finally broke early Wednesday evening with the announcement that Florida defensive tackle Dominique Easley will miss the rest of the season with a major knee injury.
UF coach Will Muschamp announced that Easley tore the anterior cruciate ligament and medial meniscus in his right knee during a non-contact drill in Tuesday’s practice.
Earlier in the day, Muschamp said Easley had tweaked his knee and was expected to be fine, but that he was still waiting for an official diagnosis from doctors.
“As I said earlier today on the SEC conference call, Dominique injured his right knee in practice late Tuesday night in a non-contact situation,” Muschamp said in a UF release. “Test results have revealed that he suffered a tear of both his ACL and medial meniscus, which will require season-ending surgery.
“I talked to Dominique and the team this afternoon and we will continue to look for his leadership and experience throughout the season.
“Watching any of your players go through this is one of the hardest things about being a coach. Obviously, it is hardest on Dominique. We are disappointed for him, but we will be there for him every step of the way through his surgery and rehab process.”
The bad news on Easley comes only a few days after the Gators lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for the season after he broke his lower right leg in last Saturday’s win over Tennessee.
Driskel underwent surgery Wednesday to have a plate and screws inserted for the fibula fracture.
Easley, a senior, indicated on his Twitter account earlier in the day that his UF career was over.
“Gatornation thank you for all of 4 yrs of sticking with me but god has something else planned for & have no worries,” Easley tweeted.
Easley tore the ACL in his left knee in the 2011 Florida State game, an injury that he has said affected his play last season.
Easley, back to 100 percent since the spring, was off to a good start in this his senior season, establishing himself as perhaps the Gators’ most dominant defensive player. He had four quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss this season.
Muschamp said cornerback Marcus Roberson (knee), offensive tackle Tyler Moore (ankle) and defensive lineman Leon Orr (shoulder) are practicing.
Freshman Jay-nard Bostwick will be in the mix at tackle with Easley now out for the season, UF defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. Freshmen Joey Ivie and Bryan Cox Jr. are capable, Durkin said.
“I'm very confident in those guys,” Durkin said. “I feel confident with every guy we run out there.”
Durkin added that starting cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy has returned after sustaining a thigh contusion that sidelined him in the Tennessee game.
“He’s healthy and practicing. He’s fine,” Durkin said.