COLUMBIA — Missouri has suffered its first significant injury of preseason camp, as cornerback E.J. Gaines — one of four senior captains — wore a large brace on his left leg and did not practice Tuesday because of a strained patella tendon.
By TEREZ A. PAYLOR
The Kansas City Star
The injury was confirmed by team surgeon Pat Smith and in an MRI performed Monday. Associate athletic director Chad Moller said Gaines is expected to return to action in about a week.
Gaines, who wore a red non-contact jersey throughout practice, was joined on the sidelines by junior running back Henry Josey, who sat out because of a sore hamstring.
Moller said Josey — who suffered a devastating knee injury as a sophomore that caused him to miss the 2012 season — is day-to-day, but his injury does not appear to be serious. Josey is one of a handful of players Missouri coach Gary Pinkel and the training staff decided should rest during camp, and the decision to sit him was precautionary.
“As we have practiced for several days in a row, high reps, coach Pinkel and I agreed that it might be wise to have some off-days for certain individuals,” team trainer Rex Sharp wrote in an email. “Henry was a little sore in the right hamstring, so we opted to sit him down today.”
While Josey sits, sophomore Russell Hansbrough — who shared first-team reps with Josey in Missouri’s first scrimmage Saturday — and junior return specialist Marcus Murphy figure to get the first-team work. Hansbrough and Murphy combined for 83 carries last season, so they each have game experience.
The injury to Gaines is potentially more troubling, though the prognosis certainly could have been worse. Gaines is the Tigers’ lone selection to the media’s all-SEC preseason team and a proven commodity in a secondary that lacks established playmakers.
Wide receiver Stepfawn Hughes of Dunbar High in Fort Worth, Texas, became Missouri’s 18th commitment for the class of 2014 on Friday, picking the Tigers over Oklahoma State, LSU, Nebraska, Baylor, Colorado, Iowa State and North Texas.
Hughes, a 5-foot-9, 185-pounder, is a younger brother of Missouri receiver Darius White. Hughes’ high school coach, Todd Lawson, said Missouri offered Stepfawn the chance to play at slot receiver, running back and cornerback. Lawson said Hughes recently ran a 4.52 40-yard dash, benched 265 pounds, hang cleaned 300, squatted 530 and a posted a 38-inch vertical leap.
Another Dunbar alum, receiver Victor Bailey, played at Missouri from 1990 to 1992 and is sixth in career receiving yards with 2,144.
Tiger Fund summit
Missouri’s athletic department will hold a Tiger Scholarship Fund summit at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Diamond Club at Kauffman Stadium.
Athletic director Mike Alden, men’s basketball coach Frank Haith and softball coach Ehren Earleywine are scheduled to attend, as will former athletes Gary Link and T.J. Moe.
The event is free to current Tiger Scholarship Fund donors. Non-members may attend by joining with a minimum donation starting at $50. The Tiger Scholarship Fund held similar events in St. Louis and Sikeston this spring.
Television for opener
Missouri announced Tuesday that its football season opener against Murray State at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 will be shown on pay-per-view for those in the state of Missouri and spillover markets. The telecast, which will be available in high definition, will cost $39.95. Participating cable providers will be announced next week.
To reach Terez A. Paylor, call 816-234-4489 or send email to email@example.com.