Clemson University

Injury may sideline left tackle Hairston

CLEMSON - Clemson's most dynamic player, running back C.J. Spiller, said his injury will not keep him out of this week's clash against No. 15 TCU.

But Clemson's most valuable player may be doubtful.

Junior left tackle Chris Hairston suffered what a school official called a sprained left knee during the third quarter of Saturday's 25-7 victory against Boston College and did not return.

An MRI conducted determined Hairston did not tear any ligaments, and teammates said the injury initially was thought to be a sprained MCL.

Hairston's likely absence comes as the Tigers prepare for TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes, who led the nation in sacks last season.

Hairston would be replaced at left tackle by senior Cory Lambert, who was benched at right tackle against Boston College because of his troubles against speedy edge-rushers.

"We definitely have our work cut out for us," senior left guard Thomas Austin said.

Spiller left Saturday's game later in the third quarter as a precautionary move to protect his bruised right big toe.

He injured the toe in the Middle Tennessee opener and said he's been playing at about 85 percent since.

"I'm not going to sit out any games," Spiller said. "I'm going to go as long as I can go and then let our other two guys go in there."

"It's something I can't control. All I can do is try to get healthy."

For kicks. Junior kicker Richard Jackson, who entered the season as the backup, nailed a 52-yard field goal in the third quarter, becoming the first Clemson kicker to connect on at least two 50-yarders since 1992 (Nelson Welch) - and the first to do it in consecutive games since 1990 (Chris Gardocki).

He also tied the school record with six field goals, a feat accomplished by Jad Dean against Texas A&M in 2005.

"He was at the bottom, and this guy has crawled back out of a hole and been tested," coach Dabo Swinney said. "The strongest iron goes through the hottest fire, and he's been through it and is pretty strong right now.

Steele curtain. Putting the defensive's 55 total yards allowed into further context:

- It was Clemson's second-lowest total against in ACC play, topped only by Virginia's 41 yards in 1963. That was also the last time the Tigers yielded so few yards.

- Boston College's 25 passing yards were the fewest by a Clemson opponent since Temple had 15 in 1991.

- The Eagles had minus-2 yards in the first half.

Two down. Senior running back/tight end Rendrick Taylor was suspended for Saturday's game because of an unspecified violation of team rules, a school official said. Taylor did not dress out for the game and will return to practice Monday.

Also, senior second-string guard Jamarcus Grant didn't dress out because of the flu.

Extra point. Lightning delays of 55 and 48 minutes turned the game into a 4-hour, 46-minute event. Clemson incurred its first weather delay at home since the UNLV game in 1993 and just its second since the 1963 Georgia game.

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