If you haven't already exhaled, Alabama fans, it's OK to do so now.
Per al.com, Nick Saban said on ESPN Sunday night that the knee injury suffered by starting quarterback AJ McCarron during the Crimson Tide's 42-10 victory over Missouri wasn't serious, and that the junior "will be fine in a day or two."
A Sunday examination confirmed the initial diagnosis of a bruise. McCarron was helped off the field after a hit from the Tigers' Sheldon Richardson but returned to the game on Alabama's next possession wearing a knee brace.
Saban said some of McCarron's pain and soreness was due to a pinching of the "fat pad" of tissue below the kneecap.
The Tide coach followed up Monday by saying that McCarron was "still sore" but would "try to do some things" in Monday's practice.
Though the news isn't unexpected after McCarron was able to finish Saturday's game, it will be highly welcome in Tuscaloosa all the same. As loaded as the Tide roster might be, McCarron's absence would nonetheless create a giant question mark for the defending champs, with backups Blake Sims (a sophomore who spent 2011 at running back) and redshirt freshman Phillip Ely having thrown only six career passes between them.
Of course, the angst on Alabama's part wouldn't just be over thrusting such untested players into the fire. It would be over losing a player performing as well as McCarron has been. Through six games, he has posted a 12-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio and ranks fifth in the country with a 171.88 QB rating.
So if any Tide fans have been holding their breath until now, we won't blame them a bit.