VIDEO: Steve Spurrier defends Jadeveon Clowney on Tuesday

Streeter Lecka

Spurrier says a breakdown in communication led to the confusion surrounding Clowney's status prior to the Kentucky game.

Jadeveon Clowney did not play in South Carolina's victory over Kentucky, and the news of his status seemed to catch the coaching staff off guard on game day. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward said he was "totally surprised" to learn Clowney wouldn't play, and Steve Spurrier sounded upset about it.

"If he wants to play, we will welcome him to come play for the team if he wants," Spurrier said Saturday.

On Tuesday, Spurrier again clarified the situation, softening his stance and defending Clowney, whom he praised for his impact on the South Carolina program.

Spurrier said a breakdown in communication between himself, Clowney and the training staff led to confusion.

"Obviously we all handled it poorly," he said.

Clowney has been limited by a string of injuries this year -- a bruised shoulder cost him some practice time during the preseason, and he has been playing through bone spurs in his right foot. He plans to have surgery on the foot once the season is over.

Clowney has 12 tackles and a pair of sacks in four games this season.

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