South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw's throwing shoulder was a concern coming into the Gamecocks' contest against Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday, and those problems continued against the Blazers.
Shaw took a hit while tossing a pass to Bruce Ellington late in the first half of Saturday night's contest. He stayed on the ground, appeared to favor his ailing shoulder and was eventually helped to the sideline.
That prompted Steve Spurrier to make this decision (per WLTX):
Steve Spurrier says Connor Shaw is done for the night. #Gamecocks— WLTX - On Your Side (@WLTX) September 16, 2012
UPDATE: Wednesday, September 19, 11:50 a.m. ET by Donald Wood
After being pulled out of the game against Alabama-Birmingham with another injury to his already sore shoulder, South Carolina Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier has some good news about quarterback Connor Shaw's health.
ESPN’s Joe Schad is reporting about Spurrier’s comments on his young QB’s injury:
Spurrier: "Connor Shaw is healthy. He was cleared to play last week but he took a hit and landed on his hairline fracture. It takes time."— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 19, 2012
Spurrier: The doctors and trainers feel Connor Shaw can't hurt it any worse and can play if he can tolerate the pain.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 19, 2012
Spurrier: Shaw has no limitations. He could have played the second half if really needed last week.— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 19, 2012
Spurrier: If Connor is cleared he should have a few carries running it; we will run our normal offense with him— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) September 19, 2012
For Gamecocks fans, this is great news for the rest of the season, but it doesn’t mean the team is out of the woods yet. If Shaw were to go out against one of the better teams on the South Carolina schedule, the team would be in serious trouble.
For the rest of 2012, the Gamecocks focus must be on keeping Shaw healthy and upright in the pocket.
---End of Update---
UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 11:49 a.m. ET
Daryl Slater of The Post and Courier in Charleston has the latest on Connor Shaw:
Oh, at at QB, that Connor Shaw guy is listed atop the depth chart, for what that's worth.— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) September 18, 2012
Gamecocks beat writer for The State in South Carolina, Josh Kendall, later reported that Spurrier announced Shaw will start the Week 4 contest.
Steve Spurrier: "Connor Shaw... will start. He's fine. No issues there on who the starter is this week."— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 18, 2012
---END OF UPDATE---
UPDATE: Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11:07 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
The State's Josh Kendall passed along this bit of news from Shaw himself.
Connor Shaw confirms a slight fracture in his shoulder blade against Vandy. Aggravated it again tonight.— Josh Kendall (@JoshatTheState) September 16, 2012
So he had a slight fracture in his shoulder, and that was aggravated by playing football? What a shock.
---End of update---
This makes sense. The Gamecocks took a 21-6 lead into the locker room and appeared to have the game in hand. Risking Shaw's long-term health—especially with his recent shoulder issues—isn't worth the wager if you're Spurrier and the South Carolina coaching staff.
Before leaving the game, Shaw was 9-of-15 for 106 yards and a touchdown. He had one interception as well.
Shaw's development is of paramount importance for the Gamecocks. Backup Dylan Thompson has performed admirably in his limited duties, but Shaw is the most talented quarterback on the South Carolina roster. If the Gamecocks want to win the SEC East, he must be healthy.
Saturday night's contest isn't a concern, but their Week 4 matchup against Missouri could be difficult if Shaw isn't 100 percent ready to go. With his recent issues, that looks up in the air at this point.
Keep an eye on this situation as more specifics surface.