Tennessee’s roster is banged up late in the season with injuries all over the starting lineup.
The Vols are already dealing with injuries to the wide receivers, offensive line, and linebackers to go along with the plethora of injuries to the secondary unit.
STAR safety Tamarion McDonald was not available for Saturday’s game against Georgia after getting hurt against Missouri the prior week in Columbia.
“We were hoping that TMac (McDonald) would be ready to go (against Georgia),” Josh Heupel said on Monday. “As we went through warmups, he just wasn’t in a position to play.”
Starting safety Wesley Walker was also inactive for Saturday’s Georgia game as both injuries paved the way for sophomore Jourdan Thomas to step into the starting lineup.
Thomas, though, was injured early into the Georgia game as well. The trio of injuries from Walker, McDonald, and Thomas led to extended playtime from safety Andre Turrentine and safety Will Brooks.
Brooks ended the game as Tennessee’s third-leading tackler (6) while Turrentine recorded four tackles of his own.
As far as Thomas and McDonald’s status goes for the Vanderbilt game, Heupel provided a short, optimistic report.
“Hope to have those guys ready to go on this one,” Heupel said.
Walker, on the other hand, is in a little bit of a different boat.
“Yeah. Wesley’s probably more questionable than the other guys,” Heupel said to follow up.
Walker and McDonald are listed as the starters on Tennessee’s Week 13 depth chart but that isn’t indicative of anything one way or the other. On one hand, Tennessee’s depth chart has never really been indicative of the true starters. On the other hand, Tennessee will continue to use the week to test their injured players to see if they will be able to go this Saturday afternoon in Neyland Stadium.
The Thanksgiving holiday does switch up the media schedule a bit which means that Monday’s press conference was the only time that Heupel will speak to the media this week. We’ll likely have to wait until pregame warm-ups to see the status of Tamarion McDonald, Jourdan Thomas, and Wesley Walker for the regular season finale.
Josh Heupel also delivered unfortunate injury news for an offensive player during his Monday press conference.
Offensive lineman Javontez Spraggins will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an injury against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
AP No. 25 Tennessee will host Vanderbilt at 3:30 p.m. ET in Neyland Stadium to close out the regular season on Saturday.