Florida's much-discussed injury and suspension situation seems to be a case of one step forward, two steps back.
Will Muschamp had some good news to offer Gator fans Monday, telling reporters (including the Gainesville Sun) that both tailback Matt Jones and middle linebacker Antonio Morrison would be available for the team's Week 2 showdown with Miami. Jones is recovering from a viral infection that kept him out for much of fall camp, while Morrison has had his suspension reduced from two games to one after the charges resulting from his July arrest -- one triggered by his barking at a campus police dog -- were dropped by the state.
But even that won't keep the Florida faithful happy for long, not once they hear Muschamp's other announcement: that right tackle Chaz Green will undergo surgery for a torn labrum suffered in practice last week and will miss the 2013 season.
It's another blow for an offensive line that's already lost senior starting right guard Jon Halapio for both the season opener against Toledo and the Miami game -- at least. Between them, Halapio and Green started 44 of a possible 52 games on the right side of Florida's offensive line the past two seasons. In their place against the Rockets, the Gators will start senior Kyle Koehne at guard and sophomore Tyler Moore at tackle, who have combined for 8 starts in their respective careers.
The good news is that Koehne is a veteran who won't be overawed by the situation, and Moore a former top-247 four-star recruit who started four games for Nebraska as a true freshman before heading to JUCO. The Gators could do worse. And given the importance of the Miami game for the Gators' national title hopes, having both Jones -- the clearcut No. 1 tailback out of spring -- and the team's starting middle linebacker back to face the Hurricanes is a major, major boost.
That said, Green was a known quantity and a powerful run-blocker, on an offense that will have to run the ball to be effecive. Losing him for the year will hurt, and hurt badly.