University of Missouri

Max Copeland expected to return against Arkansas State

Updated: 2013-09-24T04:17:47Z

By TOD PALMER

The Kansas City Star

— Missouri has avoided the injury bug for the most part, but the Tigers were forced to shuffle the offensive line last weekend against Indiana when senior left guard Max Copeland wasn’t able to play.

Copeland, who sprained his left ankle Sept. 7 in a win against Toledo, practiced all week, but he couldn’t answer the bell when Missouri kicked off its 45-28 victory against the Hoosiers.

“We thought Max could possibly play,” Tigers coach Gary Pinkel said. “We thought he would. Last Thursday, it was doing better, but then Saturday he just didn’t feel right.”

Instead, junior Anthony Gatti, who is listed as the backup left tackle on Missouri’s depth chart, got the start and played roughly two-thirds of the game.

Pinkel said he expects Copeland to return for the Arkansas State game at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Stadium, but he’s confident in Gatti if there’s another hiccup.

“(Gatti) did go in and play well against some good players, so that’s a real plus for us,” Pinkel said. “He still has to be ready to play tackle also.”

Sophomore Brad McNulty, who is listed as the backup center, also filled in for Copeland on a few drives.

To reach Tod Palmer, call 816-234-4389 or send email to tpalmer@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/todpalmer.

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