Junior defensive tackle Harold Brantley remains on track to return next season.
Brantley suffered severe injuries — including a broken left tibia, ligament damage in his left knee, several broken ribs and a small crack in his shoulder — in a rollover accident on Father’s Day in Columbia.
He was poised for an All-SEC, perhaps even All-American, campaign as the most accomplished player and unquestioned leader on the Tigers’ defensive line before the wreck.
Brantley’s fractures are healing and MU coach Gary Pinkel said he had knee surgery 3-4 weeks ago.
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“He’s on track,” Pinkel said Monday during the Tigers’ weekly news conference. “His one surgery he had, they got it all done weeks ago. He’ll start lifting weights here and getting going.”
Brantley will be cleared soon to resume upper-body workouts and should be off his crutches soon.
“They were concerned he might need to have a couple (knee surgeries), but the one got the whole thing taken care of, so it was really good,” Pinkel said.
As expected, Brantley — who had 54 tackles, including seven for a loss, with five sacks and two blocked kicks last season — has remained a significant presence for Missouri’s defense.
“He’s out at every practice, and he does a great job of helping our kids and leading our kids and talking to our players, especially when things get tough,” Pinkel said. “The attitude that he brings, he does a really good job in the locker room.”
Meanwhile, redshirt freshman running back Trevon Walters’ return from ACL surgery suffered a setback when he was a passenger in a separate Sept. 18 car accident.
“He’s getting closer,” Pinkel said of Walters. “He was set back a little bit when he got into a car accident. He got dinged. Structurally, he’s fine, but it set him back a little bit. We’ll see where it goes. We’re into October now, so will see how it unfolds.”