COLUMBIA — Two weeks ago sophomore defensive lineman Aldon Smith stood in front of confused media members as he denied having any injury whatsoever.
He brushed off Missouri football coach Gary Pinkel’s report of a broken fibula in his right leg by calling it a “big bruise.”
The Tigers’ sack leader insisted he would be on the field against Miami (Ohio).
Smith didn’t end up playing against the Redhawks and wasn’t available to the media Monday when Pinkel confirmed that he would remain sidelined against Colorado this week.
“Aldon’s kind of a secretive guy when it comes to injuries,” junior lineman Jacquies Smith said. “Basically you just wait and see what type of stuff happens. If he’s out there, we know he’s going to be able to give it.”
Pinkel wouldn’t speculate when Smith would return, but was confident that backups would step up.
“It’s still a team defense,” Pinkel said. “What you got to do is people that replace injured players, they have to raise their level up and play well, and all the players around them got to play well. That’s just part of football.”
Sophomore defensive lineman Brad Madison, who stepped up into a starting role with Smith out, acknowledged what a difference having Smith on the field makes.
“We need Aldon back,” Madison said. “You can’t replace Aldon. Hopefully we’ll get him back as soon as we can.”
Against Miami, the Tigers held the Redhawks to just 2.1 yards per carry and also recorded three sacks, but the competition will be on a different level when the Tigers begin conference play this week.
“We did all right,” Madison said. “Obviously it’s going to hurt anybody to lose Aldon Smith. The production he’s done his freshman year and throughout the beginning of this year, we’re doing what we can to try to – well you can’t replace him – but to try and make places and go out and get your job done.”
While Smith can’t make plays on the field, he’s doing what he can to make an impact and even told the other defensive lineman that they didn’t need him to win.
“He does a lot of talking,” Madison said. “He’s a good leader. He’s probably the most vocal guy on our defensive line. Even if he’s not playing, he helps just being on the sideline or the field. On the field’s going to be better, but we still use him for leadership.”