CLEMSON – Mike Williams will get out of bed, walk around campus and go to class, just like a normal Monday.
The Clemson junior wide receiver’s football future has however been thrown into jeopardy, at least in the short-term. While head coach Dabo Swinney said on Sunday evening’s teleconference Williams will play again, he is out indefinitely with “a small fracture in his neck area,” per an MRI taken Saturday after Clemson’s 49-10 victory over Wofford.
Williams crashed into the padded goalposts stanchion upon making a 4-yard touchdown reception Saturday, and had to be immobilized, carted off the field and transported to a local hospital. Swinney said surgery will not be required.
“Obviously, when you’re talking about an injury in that area, that’s a real serious thing,” Swinney said. “He’s just got to wear a neck brace, and it’s just got to heal. That’s all you can do. It should heal up nicely, and everybody’s confident about everything the doctors have said.”
Swinney guessed doctors would reevaluate Williams’ status in “about six weeks or so”, and wouldn’t rule out Williams missing his entire 2015 season.
“The prognosis is great for him,” Swinney said. “We’re just lucky that it wasn’t worse, and he’s going to have an opportunity to play football again. But when that is, I have no idea. The main thing to me is he’s OK.”
A 6-4, 220-pound deep threat who tallied 1,030 receving yards last year – who was considered a strong possibility to leave for the 2016 NFL Draft given a successful junior campaign – Williams was spotted in the players tunnel at Memorial Stadium after the game, seated and wearing the neck brace while signing autographs for young fans.
“Mike was wanting to get up and walk off the field yesterday, but our medical staff did a really good job of being cautious,” Swinney said. “He didn’t sleep good last night, wearing a brace for the first time. But he’ll get used to it.”
The Tigers have eight different receivers within the gameplan, so depth isn’t a particular issue at that position. Senior Charone Peake slid over into Williams’ “9” position after Williams’ departure, and Williams’ backups listed on the depth chart are redshirt freshman Trevion Thompson and true freshman Deon Cain.
Swinney added center Ryan Norton and defensive tackle Roderick Byers should be fine for the 12th-ranked Tigers’ week two game vs. Appalachian State after leaving Saturday due to injury. Tight end Stanton Seckinger, a senior from Isle of Palms, sat out Saturday with a knee injury and expects to return vs. Appalachian State.