While all signs out of Gainesville pointed to a successful conclusion to the Spring Game, University of Florida fans received a bit of bad news this week – Florida defensive end/linebacker Ronald Powell suffered a torn ACL in his left knee which will likely sideline him for most, if not all, of the 2012 season.
Coach Will Muschamp stated, “Ronald is in good spirits and is very eager to do whatever is necessary to have a healthy, speedy recovery. He has already started with prehab, and once the swelling goes down and he regains his range of motion, he will have the surgery.”
Although it was initially reported that Powell sprained his knee, official medical results showcased a clear tear in the ACL.
This is sad news for the Gators defense this season. The 6’4″, 250lb junior defensive end had a breakout campaign in 2011 leading the defensive in sacks. Muschamp publicly called out Powell on multiple occasions including this spring as one of the players who needed to improve his play. Last season, this motivated Powell to gaining six sacks on the year.
Powell joins defensive tackle Dominique Easley on the sidelines with the same injury Easley experienced against Florida State in a losing campaign last season. These two defensive linemen will be missed and even if they are able to recover enough to play this season, it is very unlikely that either player will be as effective as they would have been otherwise.
The Gators have several incoming freshmen who may be able to pull some of the slack, but the team must make serious changes with the defensive front-eight in order to place greater pressure on opposing offensive lines and quarterbacks in the SEC. Without Powell, it is doubtful the Gators will be able to accomplish this goal – at least not early on in the season while the team is still trying to put together this hazy puzzle.
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