University of Miami

Injury update at media viewing for Hurricanes, who are favored by far fewer for Virginia

Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain.

Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain. The UM will play LSU in the season opener this weekend.
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Miami Hurricanes defensive tackle Gerald Willis III wants the turnover chain. The UM will play LSU in the season opener this weekend.

The two players who were injured — slot receiver Jeff Thomas and defensive tackle Gerald Willis — in Miami’s dramatic comeback victory against Florida State, were on Greentree Field practicing during the media’s 15 minutes of viewing on Tuesday.

However, UM coach Mark Richt said later after his his weekly new conference that Thomas did not go through contact drills.

The No. 16 Hurricanes (5-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) are preparing to meet Coastal Division foe Virginia (3-2, 1-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday in Charlottesville.

Miami sophomore Thomas, who scored a second-half touchdown in UM’s comeback after being yanked so hard by his facemask during a previous play that he limped heavily off the field and appeared to be done for the day, ran drills full speed during media viewing Tuesday. He wore an elasticized brace over his left knee.

WQAM reported during the FSU game that Thomas hyperextended his knee.

Thomas leads Miami with 16 catches for 396 yards and three touchdowns. His 24.8-yards-per-catch rank second in the nation.

And defensive tackle Willis, who appeared to hurt his finger on his left hand during a fumble recovery Saturday, was seen early on a conditioning bike, but was practicing during media viewing. Willis, who is No. 2 in the country with 12 1/2 tackles for loss, had a couple of his fingers (including the middle) taped together while practicing.

The Canes started last week favored by 12 1/2 over Florida State. By game day, the spread had stretched to 13 1/2.

And anyone who follows either team knows what happened Saturday — a Miami 20-point deficit turned into a one-point lead for the UM victory.

This week, it’s the Cavaliers that the Hurricanes are favored to beat, but only by six points.

The spread began Monday with UM favored by 7 1/2.

I’ll save my prediction until Saturday, because the situation is often in flux until kickoff.

Freshman defensive end Greg Rousseau (season-ending ankle surgery) was on a conditioning bike with his right foot in a boot.

The UM-UVA game will be televised by ESPN2.

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