After missing the past two games, Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones announced that quarterback Justin Worley will sit out the remainder of the season due to a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder. Jones was hoping his senior quarterback would be able to return to action, but surgery was needed for the injury to fully heal.
Unfortunate timing, as the Volunteers hope to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010.
“I give Justin Worley all the credit in the world,” Jones said. “He tried anything and everything to rehabilitate his shoulder back. He just could not get the velocity he needs.”
Through seven games, Worley had completed 157-of-252 passes for 1,579 yards with 12 touchdown and eight interceptions. The statistics, however, don’t show the positive impact Worley had in the locker room, and his presence was still felt this past weekend as he mentored Joshua Dobbs during the team’s 45-42 come from behind victory over South Carolina. With Worley’s guidance, Dobbs was able to become the first quarterback in Tennessee history to throw for 300 yards while rushing for an addition 100.
The 2014 season is the second consecutive year Worley has had his season end prematurely, and has now wrapped up his career with 3,356 yards passing with 23 touchdowns.
After the injury, coach Jones is left in a difficult predicament as the team has only two scholarship quarterbacks with three games left to play. Still, the team has an extra week of preparation before they enter a critical matchup against Kentucky, and needs to be ready to go against a tough Wildcat team. The Volunteers, sitting at 4-5, face Kentucky, Missouri, and Vanderbilt in the final three weeks and must win two of three games in order to become bowl eligible for the first time under Jones. Kentucky could very easily be the swing game between the three and Worley must have Dobbs ready for the pivotal, league game.
*Section Photo credit to Scott Cunningham, Getty Images; Featured Photo (above) credit to Jim Brown, USA Today Sports