KNOXVILLE — The status of Tennessee senior wide receiver Pig Howard seems at least somewhat in question heading into Saturday’s SEC opener at Florida.
Howard, the Vols’ leading pass-catcher the past two seasons, has been battling an unspecified injury – potentially an ankle problem – and will be evaluated as the week progresses, Coach Butch Jones said Wednesday afternoon.
Jones said earlier this week that Howard suffered a minor ankle injury heading into last week’s 55-10 win over Western Carolina, but the Vols’ coach said Wednesday that Howard is battling “some things.”
“Alton Howard’s another individual who, as the week progresses, we’ll see how many repetitions he can give us,” Jones said. “He’s nursing some things, so we’ll see as the week progresses. We still have a few days left of practice, so we’ll see a little bit more where we’re at.”
Howard, who led Tennessee with 44 catches in 2013 and 54 catches in 2014 and also played a part in the Vols’ rushing attack, was suspended for this season’s opener against Bowling Green and touched the ball a total of three times the past two weeks against Oklahoma and Western Carolina.
Jones said most of Tennessee’s injured players – aside from junior wide receiver Jason Croom (knee), senior running back Ralph David Abernathy IV (ankle) and those out for the season – should be “available” for Saturday’s game. That would include senior reserve safety and special-teamer Max Arnold, who has missed the past two games with a sprained knee.
Tennessee’s coach added that sophomore guard Jashon Robertson – a starter – should be OK despite fighting through an unspecified injury, and freshman cornerback Darrell Miller remained “questionable at this point in time from an injury he had a couple weeks ago.”
“I anticipate everyone else being available and being able to play, but it’s a practice-by-practice, hour-by-hour situation when you head out on the practice field,” Jones said.