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October 17, 2010

Notebook: Jones aggravates hand, but could have returned

TUSCALOOSA _ University of Alabama junior wide receiver Julio Jones may have added to his legendary status at the Capstone by suiting up a few days after having surgery on a hand fracture, but wasn't able to make it through the first quarter.

Jones had only one reception, an 8-yard gain for a first down. After using a stiff-arm on the play a dropped his next attempt just three snaps later he was pulled and in obvious discomfort on the sideline while medical trainers worked on him and eventually iced his hand.

He hoped to get back into the game during the second half, but coaches decided to keep him out.

"Julio actually could have played in the second half," Coach Nick Saban said. "The ball hit his finger and bent his finger back. It kind of hurt his hand a little bit. We held him out a little bit, the pain went away and he was fine. In the second half we decided we weren't going to play him unless we had to play him."

Jones had both a metal plate and screw inserted after fracturing a bone in his left hand at South Carolina. He wore a black no contact jersey on Tuesday, was back in his usual spots Wednesday.

Jones has 33 receptions for 448 yards and three touchdowns. He's also the unit's best downfield blocker and leads the team in yards after the catch with roughly 250.

Although the list of career ailments is pretty long, his subsequent ability to play through them has been remarkable.

He sustained wrist and shoulder injuries while also enduring a sports hernia as a freshman, and took a helmet directly to the knee for a severe bruise last season. This season he sustained a bruised knee against Florida. Despite that he's missed only two games.

Jones sustained his latest injury following his first catch against Gamecocks while stiff-arming cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who was called for a face-mask penalty and also twisted the receiver around while ripping his helmet off.

Junior Darius Hanks took his place on kick returns and junior Marquis Maze handled punt returns. His 37-yard return set up a field goal, his lost fumble led to an Ole Miss field goal, but his 125 punt-return yards in a game were the third-most in Alabama history.

Ingram now and then

Saturday was the fourth straight opponent that Alabama also faced last year, and coming in Arkansas was the only team Mark Ingram has a better showing against:

2009
Arkansas 17-50, 1 TD
Ole Miss 28-172, 1 TD
South Carolina 24-246, 1 TD
Florida 28-113, 3 TDs
Total 97-581, 6 TDs

2010
Arkansas 24-157, 2 TDs
Florida 12-47, 2 TDs,
South Carolina 11-41
Ole Miss 16-60
Total 63-305, 4 TDs

Not your typical 100

Sophomore running back Trent Richardson had the 10th 100-yard receiving performance since Saban arrived in 2007. Alabama is 9-1 in those games.

Yards, name, opponent, date, result
185 by D.J. Hall vs. Tennessee (Oct. 20, 2007), W
172 by D.J. Hall at Arkansas (Sept. 15, 2007), W
140 by D.J. Hall at Mississippi (Oct. 13, 2007), W
128 by Julio Jones at LSU (Nov. 8, 2008), W
124 by Julio Jones vs. Florida (Dec. 6, 2008), L
106 by Julio Jones at Duke (Sept. 18, 2010), W
103 by Julio Jones at Tennessee (Oct. 25, 2008), W
102 by Julio Jones vs. LSU (Nov. 7, 2009), W
101 by Trent Richardson vs. Ole Miss (Oct. 16, 2010), W
100 by Mike McCoy vs. Florida International (Sept. 12, 2009), W

Starters and injuries

Although Ole Miss came out in a passing formation, Alabama started sophomore Kerry Murphy at defensive end to have a little more bulk against the run. With the nickel package in, true freshman linebacker C.J. Mosley started, but sophomore Nico Johnson was in the base defense.

With redshirt freshman D.J. Fluker (hamstring) out, junior Alfred McCullough started at right tackle, with junior John Michael Boswell backing him up and sophomore Tyler Love at left tackle on the second unit. Junior linebacker Courtney Upshaw (thigh/ankle) started at his usual position (Jack).

Alabama had a lot of bumps and bruises, but nothing believed to be serious. Junior defensive end Marcell Dareus aggravated his sprained ankle during the first half and sophomore cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick sustained a left shoulder injury late in the third quarter, but only missed one play. Phelon Jones replaced him.

"I may be down, but I'm not down," Dareus said. "They took a couple of shots at it and it really bothered me the first drive."

Junior DeQuan Menzie added to kick coverage was a strong indication that his recovery from a torn Achilles is complete.

Tide-bits

Senior quarterback Greg McElroy moved into a tie with Freddie Kitchens and Jeff Rutledge fifth on the Tide's list of career touchdown passes with 30. John Parker Wilson has the Alabama career record with 47.

Freshman Cade Foster's 49-yard field goal was his career longest.

Alabama is 34-1 when leading at halftime under Saban ... Team captains were William Vlachos, Mark Barron and Hanks. Former wide receiver Tyrone Prothro was the honorary captain and homecoming parade marshal. ... Matt Austin's crew officiated the game, with Robert Rougeou the replay official. ... The game temperature was 52 degrees at kickoff.


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