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Team captain Patrick DiMarco ran off the USC practice field Thursday wearing a brightly-colored yellow jersey on his back and a soft pad wrapped on his left arm. It is not exactly a sight Gamecock fans want to see.
The 6-foot-1, 243-pound senior, expected to see plenty of playing time at fullback and tight end this season, suffered a crack in his forearm, which is slightly worse than the bruise originally reported.
“There’s a little crack. Nothing too bad,” DiMarco said.
Still, it will take some time to recover.
“They said I should be back for the first game. I’m doing rehab every day and stuff,” he said. “I’m just trying to get back right. They’ll probably wrap it up and give me a big old pad so I won’t feel much on it when we play.”
He got the injury when he tried to cut a defender on a block and the defender’s knee hit his arm. He thinks he should be back in pads within a week to 10 days. But with the NCAA uncertainty surrounding fellow tight end Weslye Saunders, he knows how important it is to be back and ready to go.
“It makes the younger guys go out and have to work. They’re working (Mike) Triglia a little more at tight end now and (Matt) Coffee’s getting some more reps at fullback, which is good,” DiMarco said. “Because if I get hurt during the regular season, we have to have guys that have had reps before. I’m sitting there right behind them helping them out, telling them where to go, what plays we’ve got on. It’ll all work out.”
Injury report. Running back Kenny Miles got into a practice for the first time in a week, when he was cleared to play after dealing with hamstring issues. While Miles, the team’s leading rusher last season, didn’t like being on the sidelines, he understood why he had to wait until the injury was fully healed.
“It was the best thing for me to do and me being back to 100 percent,” he said. “I feel fine. I just have to keep going to treatment and rehabbing it.”
He’s hopeful about getting into Saturday’s scrimmage after watching the other backs do well in Tuesday’s scrimmage.
“It’s up to the coaches. I hope I do. I hope I get some reps in,” he said.
On the flip side, senior wide receiver Dion LeCorn can’t catch a break. He sprained his left shoulder in Tuesday’s scrimmage. LeCorn, who broke an ankle in the 2009 spring game and lacerated a kidney in this year’s spring drills, played sparingly a year ago due to the continuing problems with the ankle.
“It is (frustrating), but I keep my head up and try to help out my teammates as much as I can off the field,” LeCorn said.
He’s not sure of a return date.
“Hopefully, as soon as possible, but they didn’t give me any time yet,” said LeCorn, who called the injury painful when he’s trying to sleep.
In other injury news, receiver Alshon Jeffery finally got his yellow jersey off, as did linebacker Qua Gilchrist and running back Brian Maddox. But linebacker Shaq Wilson (hamstring) was still wearing one.
Stock rising. The running backs staying healthy, Marcus Lattimore and Bryce Sherman, got a tip of the cap from coach Steve Spurrier.
“It seems like those two guys are always here. You can’t hurt those two guys,” he said. “But the other guys don’t get hurt on purpose. I’m not knocking them. It’s just always interesting that some guys are always here that seem to not have any little tiny injuries.
Stock falling. Offensive tackle Jarriel King, however, hasn’t received much recent praise from Spurrier. “Jarriel’s been out here. He was with the second group today. He hadn’t practiced all that much. But he should be able to work his way back up to the first group,” Spurrier said.
Extra points. Spurrier had one eye on the calendar Thursday, noting the opener against Southern Miss was exactly three weeks away. He remains hopeful the team will play much better that night in Williams-Brice Stadium than it did in its bowl game loss in Birmingham to end last season.
“We need to earn our way back with our fans, and we’re going to try our best to do it three weeks from tonight,” he said.
Starting center T.J. Johnson stated that offensive line coach Shawn Elliott is looking for his best five linemen.
“Once he (Elliott) gets a set starting five, I don’t believe he’ll be rotating much during the season,” Johnson said.
Quote of the day. “I believe Coach Spurrier is good at talking about people and making them step up to the challenge. I believe Jarriel (King) is going to respond. It might take him some time. He’s been out (with a hamstring injury). It takes a lot of time to get used to this heat and get back into football conditioning.” – T.J. Johnson on Spurrier motivating players in the media.
Up next: The Gamecocks will practice Friday at 8:30 a.m.