UPDATED, 2:18 p.m. PT: Russell Mitchell of FOX Sports, who originally broke the torn meniscus story, reports he spoke with a member of the McCarron family who refutes his account:
Just spoke w/ a member of the McCarron family, on and off the record. Can report they told me no tear in AJ’s knee.
— Russ Mitchell (@RussMitchellCFB) October 16, 2012
ESPN Alabama site TideNation.com reporter Alex Scarborough reports McCarron practiced on Tuesday, wearing a brace:
AJ McCarron practiced for the second straight day since injuring his knee against Missouri. Brace on knee but no noticeable hindrance.
— Alex Scarborough (@AlexS_ESPN) October 16, 2012
SaturdayDownSouth.com tweeted on Tuesday that Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron’s knee injury could be more severe than initially thought:
Rumors circulating of a meniscus tear in AJ McCarron’s knee…
— Saturday Down South (@SDS) October 16, 2012
RotoWorld’s report says three sources have confirmed that McCarron did indeed tear meniscus in his knee against Missouri last Saturday, though Alabama head coach Nick Saban called it a bruise. Such an injury can have varying degrees of impact. Oregon State starting quarterback Sean Mannion, for example, is healing from surgery to repair torn meniscus but is expected to rejoin the undefeated Beavers in a few weeks.
Alabama faces Tennessee this week in the latest installment of the vaunted Third Saturday in October rivalry, though the luster has come off it in recent years. UT is coming off a loss to Mississippi State that has head coach Derek Dooley occupying one of the hottest seats in college football. Dooley could turn down the temperature significantly with an upset of the No. 1 team in the nation. Though lofty quarterback production is not essential to Saban’s game plan, McCarron has been the consummate field manager and his absence could somewhat buoy the Vols’ upset bid.
McCarron has thrown no interceptions this season, 12 touchdowns and completed nearly 68 percent of his attempts. Before the 2011 season, McCarron was locked in a competition with Phillip Sims. Sims since transferred to Virginia, likely leaving the less game-seasoned Blake Sims (no relation) as Saban’s starting option should McCarron have to miss any time.
Sims has been used as a running back thus far into his Alabama tenure, though was a quarterback standout in high school. He’s thrown the second most passes on the Crimson Tide roster with all of three, but has nine carries for 63 yards and a touchdown.