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Dabo Swinney Updates Clemson's 'Unbelievable' Recent Rash of Injuries

From quarterback Trevor Lawrence's positive test for COVID-19 to losing five other starters for the No. 1 Clemson's game against Boston College, it's was quite the week for Dabo Swinney.

Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney called his team's recent rash of injuries and unavailable players "unbelievable" after Saturday's 34-28 win over Boston College. 

From quarterback Trevor Lawrence's positive test for COVID-19 to losing five other starters for the No. 1 Tigers' most recent game, Swinney called this just another week in 2020. That's something everyone can relate to these days. 

"We've had a couple great, great players go down, but we're 7-0," Swinney said. "Everybody's talking about who's not here, who's not playing. Let's worry about who is here. Let's worry about who is playing. Let's go play well. Just proud of our guys. A lot of guys stepped up and made plays."

Clemson overcame an 18-point deficit to knock off the Eagles, but now the Tigers have to lick their wounds and figure out who will be available for a huge showdown with No. 4 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, next Saturday. 

Swinney is hopeful he'll have receiver Frank Ladson Jr. back after the sophomore suffered a hip pointer in Tuesday's practice that kept him sidelined Saturday. He had it treated all week in hopes of getting back on the field but it didn't happen. 

Meanwhile, fellow outside receiver Joseph Ngata (abdominal strain) got into the game but didn't have the burst he needed to make an impact, so Clemson had to move senior Amari Rodgers to the outside and start redshirt freshman Brannon Spector in his place. 

Swinney continues to be complimentary of Ngata, and the Tigers will need all hands on deck against a strong Notre Dame defense. 


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"He's the guy I'm just really keeping my fingers crossed he can get in a full week of practice," Swinney said. "He's been better on gameday than during the week but you've got to practice full speed." 

And then there's Lawrence, who Swinney already ruled out for the game against the Fighting Irish because of the cardiac testing he must undergo before returning to the field. 

"Even if he feels great and wants to go play, he can't simply because of the protocol that's in place," Swinney said. "He won't be able to get through (the cardiac test) in time, but hopefully everything will go well and he can get back to practice after the Notre Dame game. We hate that for him. Hopefully, he'll be able to travel with us still, help those guys on the sideline, but definitely will not be able to play in the game."

Swinney came out of the game, though, feeling good about replacement D.J. Uiagalelei, who threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns while completing 73 percent of his passes. Swinney is looking forward to getting a full week to prepare a game plan with Uiagalelei instead of just a couple of days. 

Then there's the defense. Cornerback Derion Kendrick returned after sitting out last week or it would've been even worse in terms of starters out. Linebacker James Skalski will miss multiple games after having a groin procedure this week while defensive tackle Tyler Davis (ankle) missed his second consecutive game. His status for the next game is unknown, but Swinney was hopeful he'd get him back for ND if they held him out another week. 

Linebacker Mike Jones Jr. was day-to-day all week with a hamstring issue and could be back against the Irish. Defensive end Justin Foster has yet to play this season. 

On top of all that, Clemson will be without Xavier Thomas, who's been working his way back on the field after multiple offseason illnesses, for the first half after he was ejected for targeting in the second half of the BC game. 

Swinney will address the media again Sunday afternoon with potentially more updates on player availability for the Notre Dame game.