Tennessee will be down a pair of linebackers this spring.
Head coach Butch Jones confirmed that rising senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin and rising redshirt sophomore Dillon Bates will miss the rest of spring practice due to undisclosed injuries, but should be back in early June.
Reeves-Maybin, who led the team with 105 tackles last season, has been a relatively durable veteran linebacker who shouldn’t miss out on too much other than some hands-on experience in new defensive coordinator Bob Shoop’s scheme.
But it’s another tough break for the injury-prone Bates, who took a medical redshirt in 2014 after appearing in just four games that season, and who battled a shoulder injury last spring and never made much of an impact on the field in 2015.
Jones mentioned linebackers Quart’e Sapp and Gavin Bryant by name when speaking of who could benefit from the extra reps with Reeves-Maybin and Bates out.
Running back Jalen Hurd also didn’t dress for practice for what Jones called “tendinitis,” though he downplayed the severity of it, saying he should be back soon. Running back Alvin Kamara was back at practice on Tuesday after missing a couple practices during the week for what Kamara said was a “precaution” for his knee.
Defensive back Micah Abernathy didn’t practice on Tuesday due to the recent death of his father, Jones confirmed.
Jones indicated that the annual spring Orange and White Game (April 16) might be more of an “Orange and White Festival” with more of a practice-like format due to the amount of injuries this spring. The Vols had 11 players out at the beginning of spring for injuries, in addition to defensive tackle Alexis Johnson, who is indefinitely suspended. The loss of Reeves-Maybin and Bates bumps the total number to 14 now players now out, with a couple other guys banged up.