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With Risk of Further Injury, Should Dillon Gabriel Return to the Gridiron and Play for UCF in 2021?

Here are the pros and cons of UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel returning to play for UCF this season.

ORLANDO - Anytime there’s a shoulder injury for a quarterback, especially the throwing shoulder, precaution needs to be taken prior to returning to the field. Any rush can lead to more injuries and more lost playing time, and maybe even lose a shot to play in the NFL.

For Dillon Gabriel and the UCF Football program, he was injured the night of Sep. 17 when the Knights played at Louisville. 35 days later, Gabriel certainly does not possess the ability to return to action just yet, but with his broken clavicle healing, it’s time to begin discussing the junior signal caller’s options prior to him being fully healthy.

Here are the three of the different options for Gabriel, with the concept of risk and reward attached to each, right after defining the injury further. Keep in mind, Gabriel is an aspiring NFL quarterback. That factor must be weighed heavily by Gabriel, his physicians, family, and the UCF coaching and training staffs.

Who to Believe?

Each shoulder injury will be different. So too will the time to heal be different. If Gabriel can come back for the SMU game, which would be Nov. 13, that would be 57 days after the original injury.

Depending upon which doctor one asks, a broken clavicle, as well as shoulder injuries in general, should or should not be tested during the same season as a break. After following more than one former quarterback to go through the same type of break as Gabriel, it truly is subjective about how it will go. Here’s an example of how unusual this injury can be.

Dillon Gabriel, Quarterback, UCF

Dillon Gabriel, Quarterback, UCF

There have been different quarterbacks that broke their clavicle, attempted to return to action that same season, only to break the clavicle again just by throwing the football.

Yes, the second break took place without any physical contact; it was just throwing the football with the same injury occuring once again.

Sit Out the Remainder of the Regular Season

If Gabriel decides to miss the rest of the 2021 season, he could then make the decision if he wants to attempt to play in the bowl game. If nothing else, going through bowl practices would enable Gabriel and everyone involved in his return to the gridiron a better idea if he’s ready to take hits.

Gabriel would also have more time to heal and gain strength before playing the game he loves once again. There’s another important factor to ponder.

If Gabriel can somehow play in the bowl game, perhaps he can then decide if he wants to enter his name into the 2022 NFL Draft. Playing that one game could help push otherwise concerned NFL teams to draft Gabriel.

Sit out the Rest of the 2021 Season and the Bowl Game

Low risk for further injury, but makes it really hard to foresee Gabriel enter the NFL Draft. As noted above, some NFL teams will likely want Gabriel to play again before they would actually spend a draft pick on him.

Out of the three options, this one leaves the most room for the unknown with the NFL Draft. Then again, maybe Gabriel does not want to head off to the NFL quite yet.

Gabriel has yet to declare his intentions for the rest of this season, let alone the 2022 season, NFL or otherwise. Maybe there’s a sour taste in his mouth after the way the 2021 season was abruptly halted. Could Gabriel return in 2022 and play for the Knights once again? Possibly. Time will tell.

Final Thoughts

For anyone that’s not met Gabriel, know that he’s a very humble and yet cerebral young man. He’s from a great family and he’s made them proud. Regardless of the decision he makes about this season or next, he deserves the full support of UCF fans everywhere with whatever decision he makes.

As for what he will do, it’s anyone’s guess. Gabriel might not even know just yet. This situation will likely play out fairly soon, but UCF fans will need to wait to find out Gabriel’s intentions.

For UCF insights, college football news, and recruiting information go to: The Daily Knight podcast. It will be found on iTunes and Spotify. For more UCF and recruiting information, go to Twitter: @fbscout_florida and @UCF_FanNation, as well as my YouTube Channel and Instagram page. Like and Subscribe!

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