That noise you hear could very well be the air leaking from Missouri’s balloon.
Yes, the Tigers knocked off injury-ravaged Georgia in Athens, its first road win over a team ranked in the Top 10 since October of 1981. Yes, pending the outcome of the Florida-LSU game, Mizzou could be sitting alone atop the SEC East standings at day’s end. And, yes, the win did come with what appears to be a very stiff price.
In the fourth quarter of the 41-26 win, starting quarterback James Franklin went down with what appeared to be a right arm/shoulder injury. After gingerly walking to the locker room, he returned to the sidelined with his right arm wrapped in a sling.
Following the game, head coach Gary Pinkel confirmed that Franklin had suffered a separated right shoulder, the severity of which is not yet known. Pinkel indicated that it’s highly doubtful Franklin plays this coming weekend, and there’s a very good chance he could miss the following weekend as well.
That would serve as the most devastating part of the injury: the next two weeks, Mizzou hosts Florida and South Carolina, two of the teams the Tigers will have to fend off if it hopes to earn the SEC East’s slot in the conference championship game in early December.
If Franklin were unable to go, the responsibility for keeping the Tigers in the division race would fall on the shoulders of Maty Mauk. The redshirt freshman has thrown just six passes in his career, with three of them coming in relief of Franklin today.
UPDATED 5:41 p.m. ET: Citing a source with knowledge of the injury, Bruce Feldman of CBSSports.com is reporting via Twitter that “Franklin is expected to be out for at least the next 6 wks, probably longer w[ith] a Grade 2 shoulder separation.” That would mean the absolute earliest Franklin could return would be for the Nov. 23 game against Ole Miss, the next-to-last game of the regular season.