Steve Spurrier expects his senior quarterback to return from a knee sprain at some point this season, but Connor Shaw will probably be unavailable when South Carolina travels to No. 5 Missouri on Saturday.

In some ways, the Gamecocks dodged catastrophe. Spurrier said Shaw is “walking around a little bit” while wearing a knee brace. Trainers told him Shaw has a “sprained knee,” and it will not require surgery.

Spurrier said Shaw won’t be practicing for at least the first two or three days this week, if at all.

“I would say, yes, he’ll be able to come back. I’m sort of doubtful he’ll be ready to do much this week,” Spurrier said. “We’ll know more about his situation Wednesday or Thursday.”

Shaw injured his knee late in Saturday’s 23-21 loss at Tennessee when he was sacked from behind. After the game, Spurrier said Shaw’s knee buckled underneath him, but the quarterback was able to avoid any ligament damage.

If Shaw is unable to play, backup Dylan Thompson would be USC’s starter. Thompson led the Gamecocks to a road win at No. 11 Clemson in the final game of last season. In that game, he completed 23-of-41 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, including the clinching 6-yard touchdown pass to Bruce Ellington with 4:17 left.

Shaw isn’t the only key USC player dealing with injuries.

Spurrier is hopeful guard Ronald Patrick can play after missing the Tennessee game with a sprained ankle. He’s unsure whether center Cody Waldrop can return from his sprained ankle. Defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles has a knee sprain, and his status is “iffy” against Missouri. Fellow defensive tackle Gerald Dixon Jr. has a sprained ankle.

“I don’t see us as banged up as some schools are,” Spurrier said. “We’ve got a couple of starting linemen with ankle sprains, had a concussion on one kid (Chaz Elder), and of course Connor Shaw is probably out this week, and another lineman has an ankle sprain. Ankle sprains seem to be our biggest injuries.”