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Saturday practice report: Injured foot worries Brinkley

News of the day Jasper Brinkley’s knee is fine, but his injured foot is becoming a bigger concern. South Carolina’s middle linebacker, who missed most of last season following knee surgery, left Saturday’s scrimmage following one play after aggravating the strained ligament in his left heel.

Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson said Brinkley, who had missed about a week, tweaked his foot while running to cover a back on a pass route.

“He’d been jogging, but he hadn’t exploded and sprinted on it, yet,” Johnson said. “I think when he did and he accelerated, I saw him kind of pull back.”

Johnson said trainers told him the ligament is a tough one to treat with the normal regimen of stretching and hot-cold contrasts. Brinkley is expected to be ready for N.C. State, but Johnson is concerned about the missed practice time.

“He’s a sharp kid. He picks up things well. But he hasn’t repped some stuff we put in this week,” said Johnson, adding that senior Marvin Sapp has played well in Brinkley’s absence.

Stock rising On a day when the offense struggled, kicker Ryan Succop might have been the offensive MVP. The senior connected on field goals of 42, 41 and 47 yards.

Stock falling After missing several days with a sprained ankle, QB Stephen Garcia completed 5-of-9 passes for 74 yards, but was intercepted by Mark Barnes. Based on performance, Spurrier said walk-on Zac Brindise (3-of-4, 26 yards, 1 TD) could pass Garcia for the No. 3 spot.

Injury update Starting S Darian Stewart left the scrimmage on crutches with a left foot injury. Spurrier did not know the extent of the injury. OL Jarriel King (hamstring) did not play.

Quote of the day “It’s fun to do (shifts) in practice when there’s no clock up there. But in the game-type conditions, you’ve got to get it in there quickly. Plus, you can’t audible. You shift and the clock’s running down,” - Spurrier.

Scrimmage stats WR Kenny McKinley had four catches for 35 yards; TE Jared Cook caught three passes for 54 yards. WR C.C. Whitlock and WR Freddie Brown each had two catches for 38 yards; Brown also had a TD. … Freshman Eric Baker was the leading rusher with 12 carries for 32 yards.

Up next The Gamecocks will practice at 3 p.m. today. It is closed to the public.

--Joseph Person