Florida RB Matt Jones to Have Knee Surgery, Will Miss Spring Practice

Brian Leigh@@BLeighDATFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2014

USA Today

Florida running back Matt Jones, who started four games in 2013 before a meniscus injury knocked him out for the rest of the year, will undergo a second surgery on the knee and be forced to miss spring practice, according to Jeff Barlis of ESPN.com:

Running back Matt Jones is among four Florida Gators players who will miss spring practice as they recover from injuries, coach Will Muschamp announced Monday.

Muschamp said Jones has had one surgery and will need another in three to four weeks to repair "the remaining 40 percent [of the meniscus]."

Jones entered the season as the Gators' lead rusher and suffered the injury in their Oct. 12 loss to LSU. He finished the season with 339 yards on 79 carries, third on the team despite having his workload and season cut in half.

"It's a little more serious than a regular meniscus [injury]," said Muschamp, according to Barlis. "We feel like, optimistically, he'll be ready to go for summer workouts."

Although Jones still has time to recover from this second surgery and play in fall camp, Florida fans are rightfully sick of injury news. Per Chip Patterson of CBSSports.com, the Gators lost 15 players to season-ending injuries (including 10 starters) in 2013.

In Jones' stead, the running back load will be shared by senior Mack Brown and sophomore Kelvin Taylor, who both return after leading the team in rushing last season. Taylor, the son of NFL legend Fred, was a blue-chip recruit who came on strong as a true freshman in 2013.

With new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, formerly of Duke, looking to push the pace in Gainesville, depth at every skill position will be paramount.

According to Barlis, Jones will be joined on the spring sidelines by a trio of linebackers: Alex Anzalone, Jeremi Powell and Matt Rolin. Not expected to have to sit out spring practice, however, is starting quarterback Jeff Driskel, who broke his leg in the Gators' third game last season and could really use the time working with Roper.

Spring camp is tentatively set to begin on Mar. 19.