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Friday August 9, 2013 Gators freshman LB Rolin out with knee injury, other injury news from Muschamp

Updated: 1:09pm, August 9

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Linebacker Matt Rolin's debut for the Gators won't come as soon as expected.

A freshman who enrolled early, Gators coach Will Muschamp confirmed Friday that Rolin suffered a season-ending knee injury at practice Wednesday night.

Matt Rolin

Rolin (photo) arrived at UF in January recovering from a torn ACL in his left knee that cost him the final portion of his season at Briar Woods (Va.) High. The latest injury to the same knee happened during a “non-contact” drill when Rolin's knee buckled, Muschamp said, the same type of season-ending injury suffered by senior receiver Andre Debose on Tuesday.

“I really hurt for both of those guys,’’ Muschamp said.

Rolin, expected to play on special teams and contribute on defense, tweeted his disappointment on Thursday.

“It's depressing when you work harder than you ever have in your life to get back to playing the sport you love and you find out it' [for] nothin’,” the dejected Rolin posted.

Muschamp talked to Rolin and his father Thursday and is confident Rolin can get back for next season.

“It’s disheartening,” Muschamp said. “We’ve got the right support people around him to help him through this. He’ll handle it well. He’s a tough kid."

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Rolin's versatility made him a candidate to earn playing time as a true freshman. He can play inside or outside linebacker and was getting regular reps early in fall camp. Rolin was part of a strong signing class of linebackers that also includes Alex Anzalone, Daniel McMillian and Jarrad Davis.

Rolin originally committed to South Carolina but opted to sign with the Gators after a visit to campus late last year. Several major programs recruited him after helping Briar Woods win three consecutive state championships as a linebacker/tight end.

Meanwhile, in other injury news, Muschamp said defensive lineman Damien Jacobs (sprained knee) is out approximately 10 days, and that defensive back Jaylen Watkins (sprained foot) is expected to miss about a week.

In addition, freshman offensive lineman Roderick Johnson will undergo surgery today to repair a pre-existing meniscus injury from high school and is expected to be unavailable for three to four weeks.

Finally, offensive lineman Max Garcia (back) has been cleared for non-contact drills and should be ready to go full-speed early next week according to Muschamp. Starting right guard Jon Halapio (torn pectoral muscle) is scheduled to visit the doctor this week to see how he is progressing. Both Garcia and Halapio were hurt prior to the start of camp.

Muschamp said running back Matt Jones, the other offensive starter out prior to camp, continues to do cardio training to get back in shape and that there is still no timetable on his return to the practice field.

The good news on the injury front is that junior quarterback Jeff Driskel, who missed the first six practices due to an appendectomy, returned to action Thursday night.

Check back with GatorZone.com later for a story off Driskel’s press conference earlier today.

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