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Aldon Smith's recovery crucial for Tigers

Discussion in 'CU Buffs Newsroom' started by RSSBot, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. RSSBot

    RSSBot News Junkie

    Jul 8, 2005
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    [​IMG]Missouri couldn't have been happy upon learning defensive end Aldon Smith would miss at least two weeks with a broken fibula, a "non-weight-bearing bone" in the leg.

    The emergence of receiver T.J. Moe has made this an arguable point, but Smith is no doubt one of Missouri's three most important players. That was never more apparent than when Smith drew the assignment of spying Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase in the season opener. As a result, the Illini were held scoreless in the second half.

    So for now, Missouri will play without its top pass rusher and one of the league's best with three sacks in three games.

    Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said the break was high and he'd been told by the training staff that players have played with similar injuries. For now, Missouri will be OK.

    It would be easier with him, but they don't need Smith to beat Miami of Ohio or Colorado at home. Until then, Brad Madison will fill Smith's spot on the defensive line.

    But if Missouri doesn't get Smith back by a trip to Texas A&M on Oct. 16, less than a month from now, it could mean a loss. The Tigers have a bye next week before playing Colorado on Oct. 9, but the usual healing time for an injury like Smith's is four to six weeks. Aggies receiver Jeff Fuller suffered a similar injury last season and took six weeks before returning to full strength.

    Pinkel sounded optimistic that Smith wouldn't be out that long, and if he can play on the injury, it's reasonable to expect the school's single-season sack record holder to suit up for conference play.

    If that's the case, the timing of Smith's injury should allow Missouri to survive without a loss. If not, Missouri's chances of a North title could take a huge hit against Jerrod Johnson and the Aggies, who would benefit in a big way from a weakened Missouri pass rush being blocked by an offensive line still breaking in three new linemen.

    And any setback by bringing Smith back too early could be disastrous for Missouri's season. After Texas A&M begins the Tigers' toughest stretch of games against some of the conference's best quarterbacks.

    Missouri plays Oklahoma on Oct. 23, at Nebraska on Oct. 30, and at Texas Tech on Nov. 6.


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