A lingering leg injury will sideline a key piece of Tennessee’s passing attack for at least another game, head coach Butch Jones has confirmed, while a separate injury issue could sideline yet another piece the same weekend — if not longer.
On his radio show Wednesday night, Jones stated that Von Pearson won’t play in UT’s game against Georgia. That’s despite the fact that the Vols are on a bye this weekend and don’t play the Bulldogs until Sept. 27.
Pearson suffered a high-ankle sprain in the Week 2 win over Arkansas State, and didn’t play in the Week 3 loss to Oklahoma. The goal now is to get the receiver back for the weekend after the UGA game.
“[R]ight now we’re really working exceptionally hard to get him back for the (Oct. 4) Florida game, but as you know, the body heals in different time frames,” Jones said. “It heals when it’s ready to heal.”
Pearson, a JUCO transfer, is third on the team in receiving yards with 98 and fourth in receptions with seven.
The status of another receiver is up in the air for the UGA game as well. Josh Smith suffered a similar high-ankle sprain in the loss to the Sooners and won’t practice at all this week.
Jones said earlier in the week it’s not yet known whether Smith will play in the Vols’ SEC opener two Saturdays from now, even as there are reports that he’ll be sidelined for 2-6 weeks.
“There isn’t a time frame on it,” Jones said. “He could be ready for Georgia, but we’ll wait and see.”
Through three games, Smith is second on the team in catches (10) and receiving yards (135).