Update: The injury has been confirmed through a school press release.
Update: In a protected tweet, Easley appears to indicate this is more than just a tweak.
MT @MR_ChUcKiE_2: Gatornation thank you for all of 4 yrs of sticking wi th me but god has something else planned for and have no worries— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) September 25, 2013
No official confirmation yet.
The Florida defensive line may be without one of its top playmakers for the rest of the season after DT Dominique Easley, a senior from Staten Island in New York, went down with what's being reported as a major knee injury and potential torn ACL by Zach Alboverdi of the Gainesville Sun and many others.
However, Will Muschamp is not yet ruling Easley out for even a full week of practice, let alone the season:
#Gators coach Will Muschamp said Dominique Easley tweaked his knee Tuesday anod unclear if he will practice today.— Sentinel Gators beat (@osgators) September 25, 2013
UF coach Will Muschamp says DT Dominique Easley "tweaked" his R knee. The L one was the torn ACL in 2011. UF still gathering info on R knee.— Jason Lieser (@PBPjasonlieser) September 25, 2013
This would be a major loss for the Gators and, unfortunately, a recurring problem with Easley, as he went down with an ACL tear in his left knee against Florida State near the end of the 2011 regular season. Easley recovered from that in time for the 2012 season opener.
Easley has posted two tackles for loss so far this year after putting up 8.5 a year ago. The Gators rank as one of the country's best defenses, thanks in part to the preseason All-SEC first-teamer's contributions.
If there's any good news in the event of an Easley loss, it's that the injury happened early enough that he could potentially get a medical redshirt. Easley hadn't taken a redshirt season yet in his collegiate career, playing as a true freshman in 2010, and the Gators have only played three of the 12 games of the regular season, below the 30 percent threshold for medical redshirts. However, he's considered a top NFL prospect and could elect to leave anyway.
Still, the injury would be terrible news for the Gator front seven, which would miss his playmaking ability and on-field leadership as Florida's SEC season gets underway.