Connor Shaw (14) and Kelcy Quarles (99) being assisted off the field at Tennessee on Saturday (image credits: Jim Brown, Randy Sartin - USA Today Sports)
By Willie T. Smith, Greenville News
COLUMBIA - The good news, according to South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, is that senior quarterback Connor Shaw and junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles suffered no ligament damage in their knees during the Gamecocks' 23-21 loss at Tennessee Saturday.
The bad news is that Spurrier doesn't expect either one to return in time for the Gamecocks' game at Missouri Saturday.
It's never easy to predict the recovery time for Shaw, who returned to action the Saturday after suffering a shoulder injury on his passing arm. That does not appear to be a possibility this time around, however.
"I would say definitely he will be able to come back," Spurrier said of Shaw. "I'm sort of doubtful he will be able to do much this week. We'll know a lot more about his situation Wednesday or Thursday."
Shaw suffered one of his worst performances Saturday. He completed only 7 of 21 passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. He also threw his first interception of the season. He did rush for 78 yards and a touchdown.
Quarles went down late in the game with a sprained knee. He had four tackles, including two tackles for loss and a sack.
USC defensive end Gerald Dixon Jr. suffered a sprained ankle and center Cody Waldrop's foot remained in a boot on Sunday which means he remains questionable.
Senior guard Ronald Patrick missed the game with a high ankle sprain. Whether or not he will return on Saturday will be determined later in the week.
Spurrier admitted to struggling with the loss to Tennessee.
"I had enough on my mind that I couldn't sleep hardly a bit (Saturday) night," he said. "You always wonder what if you had called this play or that play or just one play here or there when you lose a game like this."
Several offensive decisions late in the game were part of the reason for Spurrier's uneasiness, especially the decision to punt on a fourth down and two on the Gamecocks' final possession after taking two timeouts.
"Our defense was playing well so I still think it was the right thing to do," said Spurrier. "If it had been fourth and one, we probably would have gone for it. But we were in a lot of those zone reads that didn't make anything.
"But hindsight is always 20/20. Looking back, I think we should have thrown one or two in the last drive."
The Gamecocks must regroup quickly as Missouri remains undefeated and holds at least a two-game lead over fellow SEC East teams.