Two weeks into the 2019 season, the Florida Gators are already getting bit by the injury bug.
Head coach Dan Mullen ruled wide receiver Kadarius Toney out "for a couple of weeks" with a shoulder issue, and labeled cornerback C.J. Henderson as "doubtful" for Florida's upcoming game against Kentucky. Both suffered injuries against the UT-Martin Skyhawks on Saturday.
Toney, who has three receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown as well as four carries for three yards so far this season, injured his arm in the first quarter against the Skyhawks. He was escorted to the locker room shortly after leaving the field and did not return to the sidelines.
Henderson was banged up in coverage on a deep post that went incomplete, where he tripped and fell and was slow to get back up. After halftime, Henderson was seen on the sidelines with a boot on his left foot and crutches to get around.
Mullen stated that Henderson wants to play this week, but the team will be careful in their approach to his return to the field. Henderson is widely considered as one of the best cornerbacks in college football, and has two defended passes in 2019 to go with three tackles.
However, true freshmen cornerbacks Kaiir Elam, Jaydon Hill, and Chester Kimbrough enjoyed a productive debut against UT-Martin. The trio combined for nine tackles and an interception on Saturday night.
"I thought they did good," Mullen stated of the group. "Kaiir had an interception, Hill made a touchdown-saving tackle, Chester has some experience out there... I think they gained that knowledge and experience of playing with the one defense."
Should Henderson miss Saturday's game in Lexington, KY, the Gators are confident in their young cornerbacks to fill in. Florida has a recent history of developing defensive backs on the fly, with Trey Dean III starting nine games as true freshman last year, as well as Henderson and Marco Wilson starting a combined 16 starts as true freshmen in 2017.