Clowney’s foot injury worsened ‘just recently’

Vanderbilt running back Wesley Tate (24) crosses the goal line for a touchdown in front of South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, right, during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013 in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina won 35-25. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

COLUMBIA — The bone spurs in South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney’s right foot were not serious enough to require offseason surgery.

After the Gamecocks’ 35-25 win against Vanderbilt on Saturday, Clowney said he will need surgery at season’s end to “clean out” bone spurs in his foot. On Sunday, coach Steve Spurrier said the injury has become more significant “just recently.”

Spurrier added it’s not serious enough to prevent Clowney from playing.

“If we had known he needed surgery in the offseason, he would’ve gotten it,” Spurrier said. “Jadeveon had that bone spur his first year here, and I remember one or two days in practice it was bothering him, but when the season came around it was no problem, obviously. Just recently, I think, it started bothering him a little bit.

“If surgery is required at the end of the season, it’s certainly something that they can play with.”

Last week, defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said Clowney’s bone spurs are the same he dealt with at times last season. On and off, Clowney has had foot trouble since his days at South Pointe High, though it’s never been severe.

“They were bothering him all last season,” Ward said last week. “Until he gets them cleaned out, they’re going to continue to bother him, but he’ll be ready to play.”

He isn’t the only Gamecocks defender with bone spurs. Spurrier said cornerback Victor Hampton is dealing with the same injury.

Clowney’s injury is minor. The junior was seen limping on the sideline at Georgia last weekend, but it hasn’t prevented him having similar stats he produced as a sophomore.

On the season, Clowney has 10 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and one forced fumble through three games.

Clowney had one sack against Vanderbilt, his second straight week with a sack. He forced Commodores quarterback Austyn Carta-Samuels to fumble on the play, which defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles recovered.

“It’s painful,” Clowney said after the game. “I’m out here playing on it, though. I’m just trying to give it everything I’ve got.”

Clowney said the Gamecocks’ bye week is coming at a good time. Asked if he can do anything to help his foot heal, the junior said the upcoming two weeks should help significantly.

“Just rest it,” Clowney said. “It don’t really bother me when I’m out there that much. It just builds up pain, like the more I keep going, the more it really bothers me.

“Great time (for the bye week). I need it to get my foot back together.”