COLUMBIA — South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney will likely miss Saturday’s Garnet and Black spring football game, according to multiple media reports.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward told ESPN in a telephone interview Wednesday that Clowney is suffering from neck and back pain and a “slight concussion.”
Clowney sprained his neck last week when he collided with defensive tackle J.T. Surratt during practice. He missed last Saturday’s scrimmage and wasn’t cleared to practice Tuesday. The Gamecocks were off Wednesday and return to practice today.
“South Carolina fans should not be concerned at all,” Ward told 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 also didn’t seem concerned.
“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.
“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.”
Clowney took out a $5 million insurance policy in March to protect himself financially during the 2013 season.
The $5 million is the maximum amount allowed and NCAA spokesman Chris Radford has said such policies cost about $30,000. Radford said between 75 and 100 athletes take advantage of the program annually – about 80 percent of those are football players.
Clowney has 21 sacks in his first two seasons with the Gamecocks. He was the Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year in 2011, then won the Hendricks Award this past fall as the nation’s top defensive end after recording 13 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss. He was sixth in the Heisman Trophy balloting and began a campaign for this year’s award with his devastating hit on Michigan’s Vincent Smith – Clowney dislodged Smith’s helmet before using one hand to recover the fumble – at the Outback Bowl on New Year’s Day.
Clowney will be honored at halftime of the spring game for winning the Hendricks Award. Ted Hendricks, a two-time college All-American at Miami and Pro Football Hall of Fame member who played 15 NFL seasons, will be on hand to present the award.