NCAA Football

Clowney out with issues to head, neck, back

04/10 11:50 AM

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to miss Saturday's spring game and in jeopardy of missing the rest of spring practice.

South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is expected to miss Saturday's spring game and is in jeopardy of missing the rest of spring practice.

Gamecocks defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Wednesday the All-American and reigning Hendricks Award winner could be shut down for the remainder of the sessions because of neck and back pain and a "slight concussion."

"South Carolina fans should not be concerned at all," Ward said in a phone interview with ESPN. "He would be cleared to play if it was a regular season game on Saturday. Jadeveon plays with a reckless abandon. He will not pull himself back on the field this year. That's not how he practices or plays. He will be full bore in the fall."

Clowney, who will enter the 2013 season as a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate, sprained his neck last week when he collided with defensive tackle J.T. Surratt during practice and wasn't cleared to practice on Tuesday.

"Whether he goes another snap [this spring], I don't care," Ward said Tuesday to reporters of Clowney.

Clowney also missed Saturday's scrimmage but expects to be fine once fall camp rolls around.

"My back and neck are hurting me," Clowney told reporters Tuesday. "I should be OK coming out of spring ball. I should be coming around soon, hopefully.

"We'll have to see [if I practice again]. That's up to the coaches.

"It's not really about being out here. It's about learning the playbook. We put in some new stuff, so all I have to do is learn the play calls. The rest of it I'll catch up on."

Last season, Clowney tied for second nationally in sacks (13) and tackles for loss (23.5). The rising junior ranks fifth in school history with 21.0 sacks and is tied for second with 35.5 tackles for loss.

South Carolina will conclude the spring Saturday with its annual Garnet & Black Spring Game.

Clowney, who has taken out a $5 million insurance policy for catastrophic injury, has said he was adamant about playing next season despite advice to the contrary.

"I had some people calling and telling me to sit out," Clowney said earlier this month. "I'm not going to say any names, but it was people I knew, agents, a little bit of everybody. I was like, 'I ain't going to sit out a season.' I couldn't just sit out, and I wouldn't sit out. I wouldn't do that to the guys on this team.

"Yeah, it gets tough sometimes, going to college and playing football full time and knowing what's out there for you and you can't have it yet. But I didn't come here to quit. That's not me, and it's not just about me."

Information from ESPN.com's Chris Low was used in this report.


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