After holding pathetically inept Auburn to just seven points on Saturday, the assumption would be the Arkansas defense -- the same defense this space described as neither "tire fire" nor "Dumpster fire" but "moon fire" after giving up 58 points to Texas A&M -- would have at least one week to feel nothing but good about itself.
That assumption, unfortunately, would be wrong. Per Arkansas Sports 360 and other outlets, John L. Smith announced Monday that middle linebacker Alonzo Highsmith has sustained ligament damage in his foot from the Auburn victory and would undergo surgery. Highsmith is expected to miss the rest of the season.
This is a major, major blow for a unit that's already badly short of playmakers and in Highsmith loses one of its best. The senior was leading the team with 54 tackles when he left the Auburn game, and his leadership and signal-calling duties will both be sorely missed on a defense that even after Saturday ranks 113th in yards allowed.
Highsmith isn't the Razorbacks' only high-profile injury worry, either. Senior defensive end Tenarius Wright is set to undergo an MRI on Monday to address a recently aggravated nagging shoulder injury; his status for the remainder of the season is to-be-determined.
If there's any good news for Smith, beleaguered first-year defensive coordinator Paul Haynes, and the rest of the Razorbacks, it's that the Hogs were so bad even with Highsmith and Wright, it's hard to imagine them getting much worse. That they'll host injury-ravaged Kentucky and the Wildcats' pair of true freshman quarterbacks this Saturday might make things even better.
But that's putting lipstick on the Razorback logo. Players like Highsmith and Wright simply aren't replaceable for Arkansas at this point, and their loss brings Smith ever-more-perilously close to missing out on a postseason berth.