USC Gamecocks Football

Will Muschamp updates the status of injured running back Rico Dowdle

South Carolina football coach Will Muschamp sounded doubtful Tuesday that his starting tailback Rico Dowdle will be ready to go against Tennessee this weekend.

On Wednesday, the coach said Dowdle is out for sure but is moving well in practice. He said he projects it will be a two- or three-week injury.

“Rico is moving around pretty good, actually,” Muschamp said. “I watched him today, and he’s doing some individual with us and stuff like that. He’s not ready to play. He won’t play this weekend.”

Muschamp said reserve running back A.J. Turner is still battling a hamstring issue and did not practice Wednesday, which likely means he won’t play. The coach mentioned there was some discussion of a medical redshirt.

“This has been a frustrating year for A.J.” Muschamp said. “He’s a great young man. He’s had an outstanding year on special teams. Certainly has not panned out as he, I or anyone in this program would had anticipated.

“I wish things would have gone better to this point.”

Linebacker Damani Staley is out with turf toe injury but will not need surgery, Muschamp said.

Dowdle left last Saturday’s game against Florida with a knee injury. He went to the locker room and then returned to the sideline in a brace.

He had an MRI on Sunday afternoon.

Dowdle is USC’s second-leading rusher with 457 yards and four touchdowns on 78 carries. He was the top rusher until this week when Tavien Feaster posted a career-high 175 yards.

Mon Denson is the team’s next tailback, followed by Turner, who spent the first half of the season on defense and is an ace special-teamer.

Injuries have dogged Dowdle throughout his career. He missed the start of his freshman year after sports hernia surgery and the end of his sophomore regular season with a broken bone in his leg.

He only missed one game in 2018 but battled several injuries throughout the season.

Muschamp said the staff is hoping to get Turner back but admitted there might be an application for a medical redshirt. Turner has played in six games, almost entirely on special teams.

Tennessee’s QB situation

Volunteers coach Jeremy Pruitt said his freshman quarterback Brian Maurer is probably doubtful after concussions in back-to-back weeks. That means veteran Jarrett Guarantano is set to start with J.T. Shrout backing him up.

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