COLUMBIA - The sight was shocking: Starting MU tailback Tony Temple carted off the practice field.
The Tigers, however, received good news Tuesday evening after Temple’s MRI. Temple bruised his right knee and was listed as day-to-day, according to Chad Moller, director of media relations for the MU athletic department.
The prognosis was more serious for the other injured player at practice, projected starting cornerback Hardy Ricks. Moller said an MRI confirmed that Ricks dislocated his left shoulder.
Ricks will start rehabilitation as soon as he’s ready, Moller said. The timetable for his return is unknown.
Temple’s injury stopped practice during 11-on-11 drills. The injury occcurred when Temple went up in the air for a short, tipped pass from quarterback Chase Daniel in the left flat.
He was not alone.
Defensive back Paul Simpson and linebacker Sean Weatherspoon both converged on the ball and hit Temple, whose right knee appeared to collide with Simpson’s. Temple fell to the ground on his side and clutched his knee. He was helped to his feet but did not put any weight on his right leg. He was walked off the field, lifted into a cart and taken inside the Mizzou Athletics Training Complex.
Ricks dislocated his shoulder when he dove for a ball, MU coach Gary Pinkel said.
The injury halts Ricks’ impressive camp. He has earned accolades from Pinkel and the coaching staff with his work ethic and marked improvement. Ricks started eight games last year as a redshirt freshman after Domonique Johnson injured his knee.
“I think all those experiences really defined him,” Pinkel said.
After practice, Pinkel acknowledged the sport’s inherent risks.
“When you’re aggressive, things are going to happen unfortunately,” he said. “I think for the most part we do a pretty good job of protecting one another, but it’s football.”
After practice, players were trying to figure out how Temple had injured himself. Junior running back Jimmy Jackson, Temple’s primary backup, asked about the details. He seemed more relaxed after hearing an account and said he would immediately check on him inside.
Temple has support in the backfield. Senior Marcus Woods and Jackson lined up at tailback with the No. 1 offense when practice resumed after the injury. Junior Earl Goldsmith and freshmen Derrick Washington and De’Vion Moore are the other tailbacks on the roster.
Last year, Goldsmith, Jackson and Woods all played in 10 or more games and combined for 316 of the Tigers’ 1,943 rushing yards.
Daniel said he’s pleased with the support behind Temple.
“We’ve had some of the depth at running back that we haven’t had before,” Daniel said.
Daniel knows his running mates. After practice he repeated multiple times that Temple would return to practice immediately.
“It’s Tony. He’ll be fine,” he said. “He’ll be back out here (today), maybe in a red (injury) pullover.”