CLEMSON Clemson freshman quarterback Deshaun Watson is set to have surgery Friday on a torn ACL suffered before the South Carolina game, per multiple reports.
Sunday, Clemson coach Dabo Swinney first said Watson was “available” for the bowl then said surgery could come pre-bowl, deciding in the “next day or so.”
The change in course, first reported Tuesday night by the Post & Courier and later by ESPN, rules out the star freshman for the Russell Athletic Bowl against Oklahoma on Dec. 29.
As will go down in rivalry lore, Watson ended South Carolina’s five-year run on one good knee, accounting for four touchdowns and 282 yards in the 35-17 win.
It wasn’t until postgame that Swinney revealed the new knee injury, a sprained LCL and bone bruise the last news known from a MRI the week before. While the scoreboard lights still displayed the final score, Swinney was confident Watson would be around for whatever bowl Clemson played in.
“We’re going to have to do surgery after the season and he’s going to play in the bowl game,” Swinney said back on Nov. 29. “We’ll have to do surgery on him after the season. He’ll be back rolling in the summer.”
“Can’t hurt it any worse,” Swinney added later. “Like I told him, he’s going to have to go the gas station and fill up no matter what. Whether somebody towed him in there or he jogged in there. We’re going to have to do surgery regardless. He was great. I’m amazed. Watched him all week in practice and really couldn’t believe what I’m seeing. He was, ‘Hey, let’s go.’ The confidence he brings is special.”