COLUMBIA -- The NCAA has again come and gone, having visited with South Carolina senior tight end Weslye Saunders for the second time.
Multiple sources have said Saunders was pulled off the practice field Wednesday morning by NCAA investigators, who are looking into whether Saunders and other athletes had impermissible contact with agents.
Saunders was back at practice Thursday.
Coach Steve Spurrier, as he's been throughout, was very quiet on the subject.
"You guys know about as much as I do," Spurrier said Thursday morning, adding the word "about" to his standard quote on the matter.
Spurrier was asked, too, if any of this has been distracting for the Gamecocks, now less than three weeks from their Sept. 2 opener against Southern Miss.
"It's not," Spurrier said, dismissively. "We don't have any distractions around here."
Wednesday was a follow-up to the NCAA's first visit, in mid-July. It's checking into the link between Saunders, North Carolina's Marvin Austin and a spring break trip to Miami. Saunders, from Durham, N.C., and Austin are friends.
Saunders caught 32 passes for 353 yards and three touchdowns last season, but he couldn't seem to stay out of Spurrier's doghouse. He had shown improved work ethic and attitude so far in 2010, dropping a lot of pounds to get in the best shape of his career.
Still, the Gamecocks aren't certain whether he'll be able to play, with the NCAA probe looming. One report Wednesday said North Carolina expects to know the fate of its players in the coming days. Perhaps Saunders' verdict will be known then, as well.
Saunders' status became a bit more important Thursday, when senior tight end-fullback Pat DiMarco revealed his left arm, initially disclosed as bruised, actually has a cracked bone in it.
"There's a little crack," DiMarco said, "but it's not too bad."
The captain from Altamonte Springs, Fla., said he fully expects to be back by the opener. He said he should return to practice sometime next week.
The team's other tight end, sophomore Justice Cunningham, becomes more important in the interim, all things considered.
Spurrier said it wasn't one, but, really, he offered a little jab Thursday for the players -- particularly running backs -- who cannot seem to stay healthy in camp.
"The reliable guys have been here," Spurrier said. "It's Marcus Lattimore and Bryce Sherman. They're always here. You can't hurt those two guys. The other guys don't get hurt on purpose. I'm not knocking them. It's just always interesting that there are guys who are always here, who never seem to have any little tiny injuries."
Sophomore Kenny Miles (hamstring) seems to be nearing a return -- he was a partial participant Thursday -- but he's missed a lot of practice time. Senior Brian Maddox (groin) was able to return Thursday.
Linebacker Qua Gilchrist (hamstring) was back Thursday. Linebacker Shaq Wilson (hamstring) remains sidelined.
The Gamecocks held short scrimmages at the ends of Wednesday and Thursday's practices. Spurrier said the team will have a more formal scrimmage Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. As of now, it is not open to the public or media.
Thursday, Spurrier lauded a throw from backup Andrew Clifford to freshman Ace Sanders. He said Clifford was the only quarterback to stand in against the rush, rather than taking off running. That has long been a complaint of Spurrier's against Garcia.
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