Update: Darrin Kirkland Jr. Could be Out More than a Month

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    Late Saturday night, reports surfaced that Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. suffered a knee injury during the Vols’ practice on Friday. On Sunday, more reports came to light, and more details were shared about Kirkland’s injury.

    According to longtime Knoxville reporter Jimmy Hyams, Kirkland could miss up to six weeks because of his knee injury.

    Hyams didn’t specify what the specific injury may be, but the timetable he provides would put Kirkland back in action around the end of October, either for the Vols’ match-up against Alabama or Kentucky. Hyams went on to say that Kirkland is expected to have more tests done on Monday to determine the severity of the knee injury.

    Kirkland started the first two games of the season for Tennessee last season and totaled 16 total tackles and a sack in games against Appalachian State and Virginia Tech. But Kirkland suffered a high ankle sprain during the Virginia Tech game, and he would miss the next five weeks of action. He would play in the remaining five regular season games and Tennessee’s bowl game against Nebraska in the Music City Bowl.

    Darrin Kirkland Jr. finished last season with 45 tackles, five tackles for loss, and a sack in eight total games, starting six of them.

    As a freshman, Kirkland was named a member of the All-SEC Freshman team after totaling 66 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, an interception, and a fumble recovery in 13 games (10 of them starts). His 66 tackles were the fourth-most by a freshman in program history.

    The Vols already have three players out for the entire 2017 season due to injury. Two freshmen, wide receiver Jacquez Jones and offensive lineman K’Rojhn Calbert, will miss their entire first year with the Vols because of injury. Junior offensive lineman Chance Hall is also out for the season.

    Kirkland isn’t expected to be out for the year, but he will miss some pivotal games if the timetable provided by Hyams holds true. Kirkland missed Tennessee’s games against Florida, Georgia, Texas A&M, and Alabama last season, and it looks like he will miss a large portion of the Vols’ most important games again this year. The six week timetable would have Kirkland missing games against Georgia Tech, Florida, and Georgia with the possibility of missing the game against Alabama looking likely as well.