Josh Kendall

Gamecocks receiver dealing with ‘painful’ genetic issue

South Carolina sophomore wide receiver OrTre Smith, one of the highest-rated recruits of the Will Muschamp era, could miss the rest of the season because of a knee injury, Muschamp said Sunday night.

Smith has a subluxing kneecap, Muschamp said, meaning his kneecap regularly dislocates partially. The issue is genetic and has bothered Smith all season, Muschamp said. Smith caught three passes for 25 yards in the first two games of the season but did not play Saturday in South Carolina’s 37-14 win against Vanderbilt.

Smith was set to undergo a “scan” on Monday in hopes of getting more information on how to proceed, Muschamp said.

“I will know more [Monday] about where we are headed with this,” Muschamp said. “It is frustrating for him. He’s been very limited since August. It’s a very painful situation. We have tried to help him in every way we can.”

Smith had 30 catches for 326 yards and three touchdowns as a true freshman last year. He was a four-star recruit and selected to the U.S. Army All-American Game. Muschamp spoke to Smith’s mother on Sunday to discuss how the team might proceed, Muschamp said.

“We are going to get another opinion and continue to move forward,” said Muschamp, declining to speculate any further about the injury.

The rest of the injury news was good for South Carolina. Junior defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, who was helped from the field in the fourth quarter against Vanderbilt because of a toe injury, is fine, Muschamp said. Tight end K.C. Crosby suffered a broken finger but is expected to be available against Kentucky, Muschamp said. Cornerback Rashad Fenton (thigh bruise) will play against the Wildcats.

Players of the game. Quarterback Jake Bentley was the offensive player of the game after completing 19 of 28 passes for 261 yards, one touchdown and one interception and rushing for 45 yards. “I don’t think people realize how much we are putting on him at the line of scrimmage,” Muschamp said. “He did a fantastic job of getting us into and out of the right things.”

Kinlaw was the defensive player of the game after recording five tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles, two quarterback hurries and a pass breakup. Zack Bailey was the offensive lineman of the week, and Keir Thomas and Bryson Allen-Williams were the defensive linemen of the week.

Ranked opponent. Kentucky is ranked 17th in the country after beating then-No. 14 Mississippi State 28-7 on Saturday. The Gamecocks have only faced a ranked Wildcats team three times, the last time coming in 2007 when No. 11 South Carolina beat No. 8 Kentucky 38-23.

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