TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — For the second-consecutive week, injuries for the Crimson Tide came early and often.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban had plenty of injury updates on the team, including on junior quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who had a high-ankle sprain last week against Tennessee.
“Tua is doing really, really well,” Saban said. “He’s on the AlterG, we expect him to return to practice by mid-week this week. I don’t know what he’ll be able to do or how much but you know that’s sort of the prognosis for where we are right now.”
With Tagovailoa and freshman place kicker Will Reichard sidelined after the Tennessee game, several more Alabama notables joined them by the end of Saturday night’s game against Arkansas.
At the beginning of the second quarter, junior wide receiver DeVonta Smith was sidelined, after hurting his left shoulder. Smith visited the medical tent, and was then relocated to the locker room. At the start of the second half, Smith returned to the sideline in street clothes, with a towel holding ice on his shoulder.
“Smitty [Smith] has a bruised shoulder,” Saban said. “He’ll probably be out for a few days, but should be fine.”
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, junior running back Najee Harris came up limping after an 11-yard carry. Harris quickly visited the medical tent, but exited soon afterwards. However, Harris did not return to the game.
“Najee just barely twisted his ankle,” Saban said. “He’s fine. Could’ve went back and played in the game, we just didn’t put him back in the game.”
Senior defensive back Shyheim Carter also went down with a knee sprain but, according to Saban, should be fine. Sophomore linebacker Ale Kaho also has a fractured hand, but will be able to play against LSU in a cast.
Offensive linemen freshman Evan Neal and redshirt-junior Landon Dickerson were also injured during the game, with Neal taking a hit to the knee and Dickerson pulling his groin. Saban said they both could have returned to the game, but the coaches decided to keep them out as a precaution.
Dickerson wasn’t the only player with a pulled groin, as senior defensive back Jared Mayden also went down early in the game.
“We could have played him in an emergency,” Saban said. “Not bad. He was able to practice some this week. We felt comfortable playing with the guys that we were gonna play and not make them worse, so we’re hopeful in a couple days that he’ll be just fine.”
With the win, Alabama now has 89 consecutive victories over unranked opponents. … After his 100-yard scoop-n-score last week against Tennessee, senior defensive back Trevon Diggs had another turnover for a score, this time a 84-yard pick six. “I think we put those guys [Diggs and sophomore defensive back Patrick Surtain] on bump and run a lot,” Saban said. They have a tough job out there a lot of times on some pretty good skills. Other than a couple pass interference calls, I think that they have done a pretty good job for the most part.” … Freshman punter Ty Perine only punted the ball twice, but had an average of 47.5 yards per punt. … Freshmen linebackers Shane Lee and Christian Harris tied each other for team lead in tackles with 6.0 apiece. … Attendance: 100,233. ... Referee Marc Curles' crew worked the game. ... Game captains were redshirt senior linebacker Anfernee Jennings, junior offensive lineman Alex Leatherwood and junior wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.