COLUMBIA - South Carolina tight end Rory Anderson tore his triceps Saturday during a scrimmage at Williams-Brice Stadium, an injury that will force him to miss the final week of spring practices - at the very least.
The 6-5, 230-pound senior shined early in the scrimmage. Anderson made Gamecocks safety Chaz Elder miss a tackle in the open field and sprinted for a 52-yard catch. But that was the final pass he'll catch this spring, if not longer.
"He was stiff-arming a guy, and pulled it or something," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "Hopefully that can be repaired by the time August gets here."
Anderson will be evaluated to see if he has a partial or complete tear of the triceps muscle. When it comes to recovery time, the difference is significant.
A complete tear could force Anderson to miss at least some of the 2014 season. It would be a disappointing blow for a player who seemed primed for a big year after catching 17 passes for 235 yards last fall. Anderson caught at least one pass in each of South Carolina's first nine games last season.
"If it's torn off the muscle, then they would have to go in there and repair it," Spurrier said. "Hopefully he'll be ready to go by next year."
A triceps tear is a rare injury for athletes. One prominent example is former Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, who missed much of the 2012 season because of a torn triceps.
Lewis returned less than three months later, helping lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl title. South Carolina is more than four months away from the start of its season. Still, Lewis' quick return was the exception, not the norm.
"Once full range of motion is restored, strengthening exercises can begin, usually at four to six months after surgery," according to a Baltimore Sun article citing Dr. Umasuthan Srikumaran of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. "Most patients can expect to recover close to their full range of motion and strength at a year after surgical repair.
Backup QB still open
Perry Orth once again took second-team reps Saturday ahead of Connor Mitch and Brendan Nosovitch, but the race to be Dylan Thompson's backup is far from over.
Spurrier said he was especially impressed with Mitch on Saturday. Mitch completed 8 of 10 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown, outshining Orth's 2-for-8 completion rate for 24 yards.
"Connor Mitch is fighting for No. 2 there," Spurrier said.
Nosovitch, who has struggled passing at times this spring, completed 6 of 9 passes for 75 yards and one touchdown. Spurrier said Nosovitch throws the ball better in scrimmages than drills.
Thompson completed 5 of 10 passes for 118 yards.
Secondary a mixed bag
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward is pleased with South Carolina's safeties, but said "we've still got a ways to go" at cornerback.
It's been an inconsistent spring for the Gamecocks' secondary, as expected. South Carolina lost its top three cornerbacks this offseason. Coaches have shuffled the lineup around, searching for the best combination, often with mixed results.
"We haven't progressed as far as I would've liked by now in the secondary," Ward said.
The most significant positional change in the secondary has been Brison Williams moving from safety to cornerback. Ward said he's pleased with how Williams has played at corner. He's confident the senior can play cornerback this fall, if needed.
"Brison knows what he's doing when he's out there," Ward said. ". I think we've got enough good safeties that Brison can move, if we have to."