University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban had a lot of names to get to after a 48-7 win over Arkansas. Not all of them were in praise of their performance in the win.
Be it injuries suffered in the previous game, the practices in between or Saturday night, a total of eight players merited injury status updates from Saban. All of them are expected to return for the game against LSU, if not in some of the practices for the open week.
That is true of starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa.
“Tua is doing really really well. He’s on the Alter G already,” Saban said. The Alter G is a treadmill that simulates the effect of lessened gravity, thus allowing players to run without supporting their entire body weight. “We expect him to return to practice midweek. I don’t know what he’ll be able to do or how much, but that’s the prognosis for where we are right now.”
Starting defensive back Jared Mayden did not play at all with a minor groin injury. Saban said Mayden could have played in an emergency scenario, but “We felt comfortable playing with the guys we were going to play and not make it worse.”
Sophomore Daniel Wright took Mayden’s deep safety spot in the Dime package and had one tackle.
On the offensive line, center Landon Dickerson (groin strain) and left guard Evan Neal (hit on knee) both exited the game, replaced by Chris Owens at halftime and Emil Ekiyor Jr. after the first possession, respectively. Saban said both are minor injuries.
The same can be said for defensive back Shyheim Carter, who exited with a minor knee strain, and running back Najee Harris, who, “barely twisted his ankle, he’s fine.”
Carter tallied two tackles, both solo; Harris ran 13 times for 86 yards and two touchdowns.
Wide receiver DeVonta Smith bruised his left shoulder and spent the second half in a sling; he caught four passes for 67 yards. Saban expects him to miss a few days.
Linebacker Ale Kaho broke his hand, but Saban says it will get fixed and Kaho will be able to play in a cast. Kaho has been a crucial part of UA’s special teams, blocking two punts and nearly getting a hand on several more against Arkansas.
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