UK football

Kentucky QBs practicing but not 100 percent

jsmith3@herald-leader.comNovember 24, 2011 

Maxwell Smith is back on the football field.

The status of Kentucky's true freshman quarterback was in doubt after he sprained his throwing shoulder at Georgia last week.

But Coach Joker Phillips said that Smith and former starting quarterback Morgan Newton were both able to practice Wednesday.

The coach expects Smith to play against Tennessee on Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.

Newton, who hurt his ankle and his shoulder on Oct. 29 in a loss to Mississippi State, was able to practice some Tuesday as well.

"This is the first time both of them got reps," Phillips said. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow."

The coach said Smith is doing everything he can to get back out on the field.

"He's over (at the training rooms) late night getting treatment. ... He's doing all the things he needs to do to get ready."

Neither quarterback was made available to the media this week because of their injuries.

Wide receiver Matt Roark said it was good to see both quarterbacks get repetitions at practice.

"Everything looked good," Roark said.

But the senior said both quarterbacks are still gimpy.

"They're still not at 100 percent, probably closer to 60 percent," Roark assessed, "but they're still working and going to treatment every day trying to get better for the game. They should be all right."

Smith, who's completed 77 of 134 passes for 769 yards and four touchdowns in his four games of significant action, has impressed his teammates with his fortitude.

Roark said when the freshman stays on the ground for any significant amount of time they know he's hurting.

"He's tough and he's shown that to all of us," Roark said. "I don't think he'd lay on the ground (like he did at Georgia) if he was conscious. He's just a tough guy. He doesn't want to let everybody down."

Neloms, Wilson won't play

Defensive starters Martavius Neloms (ankle) and Ridge Wilson (shoulder) will not play Saturday, Phillips said.

Neloms, a junior safety who is third on the team in tackles with 71, hurt his ankle late in the Vanderbilt loss.

Wilson, a junior linebacker who is fifth on the team in tackles with 47, has been out three straight weeks since hurting his shoulder on Nov. 5 against Mississippi.

Four Vols suspended

Four Tennessee players have been suspended for Saturday's game for violating team rules, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel: Sophomore defensive back Nick Branum, senior defensive back C.J. Fleming, sophomore wide receiver Matt Milton and sophomore linebacker Robert Nelson.

None of the players appears on the Volunteers' two-deep depth chart.

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