By STEVE MEGARGEE
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee linebacker JALEN REEVES-MAYBINhas undergone season-ending shoulder surgery and defensive tackleKAHLIL MCKENZIE also will miss the remainder of the year with a torn pectoral muscle.
Volunteers coach Butch Jones updated the status of both players and Reeves-Maybin discussed his surgery Tuesday.
This latest news represented just the latest setback for the 18th-ranked Vols, who have dealt with multiple injuries on both sides of the ball all season.
“I’ve never been through a year like this in coaching ever,” Jones said.
Reeves-Maybin declined to specify the nature of his shoulder injury but said he got hurt in a 28-19 victory over Ohio last month. He tried to return the following week against Florida but couldn’t play through the injury.
Reeves-Maybin, one of four team captains, has missed the entirety of Tennessee’s last three games.
“I felt like in the condition I was in, I wouldn’t be able to help the team,” Reeves-Maybin said.
After posting 101 tackles in 2014 and 105 last season, Reeves-Maybin has 20 tackles in four games this year.
Reeves-Maybin’s surgery likely ends his college career, though the senior from Clarksville, Tennessee, hasn’t completely ruled out the possibility of seeking a medical redshirt. Reeves-Maybin, who owns 240 career tackles, already has earned his degree.
His injury leaves Tennessee without either of its two defensive captains, as cornerback Cam Sutton has missed four games with a fractured ankle. Jones noted that both players are continuing to contribute to this team through their leadership.
“My legacy probably could have been a little different if I would have played this whole year, but I still think I’m a leader of this team, a captain,” Reeves-Maybin said. “I still think I can help us win games. I think I still have a lot of respect (from) all my teammates. I still feel like I have a job to do.”
McKenzie made his first career start Saturday in a 49-10 loss to No. 1 Alabama. He had 12 tackles in seven games.
The injury to McKenzie and last week’s dismissal of DANNY O’BRIEN severely limits Tennessee’s depth at defensive tackle. Jones also noted Tuesday that reserve defensive tackle ALEXIS JOHNSON had a hip flexor strain that prevented him from playing against Alabama.
Tennessee is dealing with plenty of other injuries as well after completing a four-game stretch against ranked opponents. The Vols (5-2, 2-2 SEC) are off this weekend before visiting South Carolina (2-4, 1-4) on Oct. 29.
Injuries prevented two starting offensive linemen (JASHON ROBERTSON and DYLAN WIESMAN) from playing against Alabama. Two other starting offensive linemen (BRETT KENDRICK and CHANCE HALL) left the game in the first half.
Jones also acknowledged Tuesday that running back Alvin Kamara is “banged up” without elaborating further beyond saying that “everything is wait-and-see.”
“We have a lot of guys that are injured and banged up,” Jones said. “It’s been a long, long season.”
AP college website: collegefootball.ap.org