It’s going to be a lonely bench.
South Carolina coach Frank Martin announced after Sunday’s exhibition game that freshman TeMarcus Blanton and junior Austin Constable each suffered season-ending injuries in practice this week. With freshman Shamiek Sheppard tearing a knee ligament over the summer, the Gamecocks have lost three players before they ever played a game.
“Crazy week,” Martin said. “Crazy, crazy week. TeMarcus is done for the year. Austin’s done for the year. Austin will have surgery in about two weeks. He tore his ACL.”
USC announced on Saturday morning that Blanton had injured his left hip in practice and had surgery on Friday. Constable blew out his left knee late in the week and was on crutches on Sunday.
With Justin McKie (concussion) and Brian Steele (recovering from offseason knee surgery) out, the Gamecocks dressed nine players for Sunday’s exhibition win over Benedict. Martin said he may have to try and find some players from the USC student body just to have enough to practice.
“We’ve got a manager that we’re going to throw out there and he’s going to help us a little bit, and we probably have to see if we can find a couple bodies that can, first and foremost, be willing to accept the culture we have in our locker room,” Martin said.
Blanton was being depended on for depth at guard and had drawn raves for his toughness and athleticism. Constable has only played in seven games in two years but was a valuable practice player.
USC is down to 11 players for the season. McKie and Steele should be fine for the season-opener on Nov. 14.
Follow on Twitter at @DCTheState