Tennessee could be without a projected starter when it opens the season against Austin Peay on August 31.
Defensive end Jacques Smith broke his thumb during practice Wednesday and had surgery on the thumb. The injury is supposed to keep him out four to six weeks, though Tennessee coach Butch Jones isn't ruling him out of any games just yet.
"We'll see how he progresses," Jones told the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We may have him back for the Austin Peay game. That's what we're looking towards. He may be good to go. We'll probably know further details here in a week or so."
Now, obviously, if Smith has to sit out the Austin Peay game, it won't be the end of the world for the Vols. No offense to the Governors, but Tennessee will have to be missing a lot more players than Jacques Smith if Austin Peay wants a chance to actually beat the Vols in Neyland Stadium.
Smith finished the 2012 season with 33 tackles, five tackles for loss and two sacks. He's making the move from linebacker to defensive end this year as the Vols move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 scheme.