KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee quarterback Justin Worley will miss the remainder of the season because of a right should injury.
Volunteers coach Butch Jones said Tuesday that Worley would have season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, an injury that had prevented the senior from playing in Tennessee’s last two games. Worley started Tennessee’s first seven games and went 157 of 252 for 1,579 yards with 12 touchdown passes and eight interceptions.
“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.”
Sophomore Joshua Dobbs started in Worley’s place last week and rallied Tennessee to a 45-42 overtime victory at South Carolina. Dobbs became the first Tennessee quarterback to throw for at least 300 yards and rush for at least 100 yards in the same game.
It’s the second straight year an injury has ended Worley’s season prematurely. After making seven starts last season, Worley missed the Vols’ final four games to have thumb surgery.
Worley’s teammates and coaches complimented the way he has responded to this latest injury. Jones called the senior from Rock Hill, South Carolina, “a true team player” and said “now he goes from player Worley to coach Worley.”
“It hasn’t stopped him from being the leader that he was on the field,” freshman tight end Ethan Wolf said. “He’s still at all of our meetings, he’s at all of our games, all of our practices on the sidelines helping people out and coaching people up. It’s big by him. It’s rough knowing that he’s not going to be able to play anymore, but he sticks around and goes through all the stuff that we go through. It shows how much this really means to him.”
Tennessee has only two healthy scholarship quarterbacks, although Dobbs’ emergence should give the Vols confidence that they can withstand Worley’s absence. Dobbs ran for 166 yards against South Carolina to break Jimmy Streater’s 37-year-old school record for yards rushing in a game by a quarterback.
Tennessee (4-5, 1-4 SEC) has this week off before hosting Kentucky (5-4, 2-4) on Nov. 15.