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South Carolina Gamecocks Football: Shaw's shoulder injury serious enough for him to miss practice.

<em>Connor Shaw:  Questionable for ECU?  </em>
Connor Shaw: Questionable for ECU?

ESPN is reporting that Connor Shaw can barely lift his right arm and will miss the next few days of practice. According to the article, Shaw "took a helmet to his right shoulder." In reality, however, he was injured immediately after Vanderbilt RS FR linebacker Kellen Williams plowed his left knee directly into Shaw's right scapula after the Gamecock signal-caller was already on the ground.

I'm not good at creating videos, but you can watch the game on ESPN3 - the injury takes place at the 3:10 mark in the second quarter [1:15:00 on the telecast] and ESPN shows the entire sequence at 1:16:00. When Williams makes contact, Shaw is already on the ground; you will also see that Williams pushes off with his right leg, picks up his left foot and drives the left knee into Connor's back right under his shoulder pad.

There's contact in football - we all know it - even when a ball-carrier is on the ground. It wasn't flagged, and likely nothing will be said or come of it. On sober reflection, I won't call Williams' knee hit "dirty" - but I won't call it exactly clean, either. Williams didn't need to knee-shot Shaw; he could have avoided making that contact as he was the last of three Commodores on the play. Maybe he didn't mean to hurt Shaw - but the result is the same. And while there's no doubt that Shaw re-aggravated the injury after returning to the game, if Williams doesn't knee Shaw, however, then it's likely Shaw stays in the game and continues to play at a high level.

So will Shaw be ready for ECU? No one can say for certain now. A deep bone bruise is the most severe form of "bruising" and in some cases can take weeks to resolve. Bluntly, my fear is that Shaw is such a gamer than he will want to come back before he's ready. We will have to trust the coaches, trainers and physicians - working with Connor - to make sure he heals before he returns to practice. When he does come back, we'll also have to give consideration on how we use him. Can we afford to have him rush 14 times (even if he gains 92 yards [second to Lattimore] and led all USC rushers with 6.6 ypc?). Sure - some of those were scrambles, but at the end of the day, a rush is a rush.

In the meantime, we need to address our deficits at backup QB. And quickly.