Dominique Easley’s knee injury suffered in non-contact drill on Tuesday may have a bigger impact on the Gators than the broken ankle injury suffered by starting quarterback Jeff Driskel.
"Test results have revealed that he suffered a tear of both his ACL and medial meniscus, which will require season-ending surgery," Muschamp said in the statement that was part of a story on USAToday.com. "I talked to Dominique and the team this afternoon and we will continue to look for his leadership and experience throughout the season."
Easley’s leadership this season helped the Gators have the top ranked defense in the SEC so far this season.
While Tyler Murphy settles in as the new Gators' quarterback with Driskel out, finding a replacement for Easley will not be that easy. The senior was an emotional leader as well, which set the tone for an aggressive defense.
Easley has five tackles this season, two of them for a loss, and is tied for the team lead with four quarterback hurries. He suffered an ACL tear in his left knee against Florida State on Nov. 26, 2011, but returned for the start of the 2012 season, the story reported.
Easley and Driskel are not the only players on the Gators roster who have suffered season ending injuries. Offensive tackle Chaz Green (torn labrum), receiver Andre Debose (torn ACL) and linebacker Matt Rolin (torn ACL) all had their seasons cut short due to injury. Easley will undergo surgery and rehabilitation. Whether this affects his draft stock is unknown.
Easley put on a show in the Sugar Bowl against Louisville, using his quickness and power to dominate the Cardinals' offensive line. He finished the game (a loss by the Gators) with 3.5 tackles for loss, while also deflecting a pass that was intercepted by a teammate.
In addition to the announcement of Easley being lost for the season, Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post reported that Driskel underwent successful surgery on his leg where Driskel’s mother Mary said, surgeons inserted a plate and eight screws plus two long screws through the ankle on her Twitter account.