If the 2013 season is to be a better one for Mizzou and head coach Gary Pinkel, the Tigers must avoid injury. And while the first week of fall practice went well, two of the Tigers’ best players were held out of contact for Tuesday morning’s practice.
Senior defensive back E.J. Gaines, perhaps the best player on the team, has a strained patellar tendon and is expected to miss about a week of contact drills. Gaines wore a brace at Tuesday’s session, along with a red jersey that indicated he was not to be involved in any contact.
Junior running back Henry Josey was also held out of contact on Tuesday morning. Josey, who missed all of last season with a severe knee injury, has hamstring soreness. Josey is considered day-to-day.
Missouri simply cannot afford to have its best players injured. Last season, quarterback James Franklin missed a number of games with multiple injuries, and his absence was noticeable. There were also other key injuries that affected the Tigers’ game plan, as well as the results on the field. If Gaines and/or Josey are unable to play, it will make a big difference for the Tigers this season.
The Missouri staff is downplaying the injuries at this point, but this is something to keep an eye on throughout preseason camp and the season. If Missouri is unable to stay healthy, they have very little chance at competing in the SEC.