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Gus Malzahn expects Auburn WR who tore ACL in spring to play this year

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What could’ve been significantly bad news now has a brighter side to it.

Last week, wide receiver Eli Stove underwent surgery for a torn ACL that he suffered during Auburn’s first practice of the spring.  While it was thought the injury and subsequent rehab could very well knock the receiver out for the entire season, Gus Malzahn stated that he expects Stove to play at some point in 2018 — perhaps even early in the season.

“We’ll see how everything goes,” the head coach said by way of “He’s in good shape and the surgery went well.”

Six months out from the surgery, a general timeline for ACL rehab, would be mid-September, so it’s not far from the realm of possibility that Stove could see the field the first month of the season.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards, the former total which tied him for second on the team  He also ran the ball 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher yardage-wise.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

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A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.

Auburn starting DT Dontavius Russell dislocates thumb in car wreck

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For as bad as the headline sounds, the photos that come along with it indicate it could’ve been a lot worse.

On his Instagram account this week, Auburn’s Dontavius Russell revealed that he was involved in a car wreck recently that left him with a dislocated thumb. The accident happened last weekend according to an AU spokesperson.

In the social media posting, the defensive tackle acknowledged what could’ve been, writing that he “watched as my brother had to learn to walk again from a wreck like this and I walked away with only a dislocated thumb.”

At this point, it’s unknown whether Russell will be able to finish out the remainder of spring practice, which restarts next Tuesday. The good news is that the veteran lineman should be fully recovered in time for the start of summer camp in August.

Russell, who announced in late December that he was eschewing early entry into the 2018 NFL draft in order to return to The Plains for one more year, has started every game at defensive tackle the past two seasons for the Tigers. All told, he’s started 36 games of the 39 games in which he’s played the past three seasons.

In that span, the 6-3, 310-pound lineman has been credited with 11 tackles for loss and 4½ sacks. 6½ of those tackles for loss and three of the sacks have come this season; those totals are currently good for tied for third and fifth, respectively, on the team in 2017.

WATCH: Charles Barkley reacts to Jalen Hurts paying off Iron Bowl bet with trophy twist

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Even the Round Mound of Rebound appreciates a good shot, even if it came at the expense of his alma mater.

Prior to the 2017 Iron Bowl, the former Auburn basketball star and current NBA analyst revealed that he had made a bet with Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts –Barkley was going to wear an Alabama jersey on the air if the Crimson Tide lost while Hurts would wear a Tigers jersey on the Tuscaloosa campus if he lost.  With Auburn upending Alabama last November, Hurts was forced to pay up on the bet, which he did in a video released on Alabama’s official football Twitter account yesterday.

Hurts, though, did it with a twist, reminding Barkley and everyone else that, despite the loss, the Crimson Tide are the reigning national champions.

On the air Thursday night, Barkley was shown the video and, suffice to say, gave Hurts his due.

Well done, Jalen. Well done, ” Barkley said. “That was really good. You know what? That was really cool of him. I got nothing but love for that young kid. That was really cool of him to do.”

VIDEO: Alabama QB pays up Iron Bowl bet with Charles Barkley, winds up with last laugh

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Former NBA All-Star and current TNT analyst Charles Barkley may talk about basketball for a living but he certainly keeps tabs on everything happening in football as well. That’s especially true when it comes to his alma mater of Auburn and the team’s Iron Bowl rival Alabama.

Prior to last season’s game between the two schools, Barkley went on WJOX and let it slip that he had a little bet going with Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts. It was a pretty simple one, as Barkley was going to wear an Alabama jersey if his team lost and Hurts would do the same on campus in Tuscaloosa if he lost.

Well, Auburn beat No. 1 Alabama on the Plains to win the SEC West in a game that was particularly close despite the 26-14 score. Hurts didn’t forget about his pact with Sir Charles though and the Tide released a video on Twitter on Thursday afternoon to show that he did indeed pay up on his end… and wound up with the last laugh despite putting on a Tigers jersey:

It might have been a little crueler if the quarterback had put on a championship ring at the end but nevertheless both sides of the fierce rivalry can probably have a chuckle at how Hurts and Barkley concluded their bet.