FAYETTEVILLE -- The Arkansas Razorbacks received what they didn't need going into a matchup at No. 1 Alabama on Saturday: more injury news.
The reeling Razorbacks (2-5, 0-4 SEC) will try to break a four-game losing streak as a 32-point underdog against the top-ranked Crimson Tide (7-0, 4-0) on Saturday at 6 p.m.
The University of Arkansas also has lost 12 in a row against Alabama in what was once a competitive series before the arrival of Coach Nick Saban in 2007.
Senior quarterback Ben Hicks, who went the distance in Arkansas' 51-10 loss to Auburn last week, is nursing a sore left shoulder after taking a handful of big hits against the Tigers.
"I asked him after the game how he felt," Arkansas offensive coordinator Joe Craddock said. "He said he felt like he'd been hit by a car."
Hicks did postgame interviews with an ice bag on the ailing shoulder Saturday, but he said he was fine.
"We'll see how things are on Tuesday with him," Coach Chad Morris said at his Monday news conference before adding that both Hicks and junior Nick Starkel would be at today's practice and evaluated throughout the week.
Alabama has its own injury issue at quarterback, with sophomore Mac Jones set to fill in for the injured Tua Tagovailoa, who is rehabbing from surgery to repair a high ankle sprain.
Jones has completed 20 of 32 passes for 237 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in six games. This would be his first career start.
The third-team quarterback is freshman Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Tua, whose Heisman Trophy candidacy will be affected by missing playing time.
Saban said at his Monday news conference that Tua Tagovailoa underwent successful surgery and that there's no definite timetable for his return.
"The expectation is he will be nonweight bearing for several days, and then he'll be able to come back as his rehab allows him," Saban said. "We're hopeful that in a 10-day period, he'll be back being able to do active-type rehab, and we'll see how it goes from there."
Preparing Jones for his first start is a top priority for the Tide.
"I think it's important that when you have a new quarterback that he has a chance to prepare, and you clearly define the things that you want to do with him in the game so he gets a good visual picture and repetitions at what he's going to be expected to do in the game," Saban said.
Hicks is not the only Razorback on the injury report.
Left tackle Colton Jackson, who started against Auburn after missing two of the previous three games, suffered a back injury that has him questionable this week. Jackson has dealt with a foot injury throughout the season, and missed games against San Jose State and Kentucky while in concussion protocol.
"Colton we'll re-evaluate again today, as well as Ben with his shoulder," Morris said. "I anticipate those guys being out there at practice [today], but we'll see."
Left guard Austin Capps left the game Saturday to enter concussion protocol, so he's also questionable.
Myron Cunningham and Kirby Adcock filled in at tackle and guard, respectively, for the seniors Jackson and Capps.
Morris said junior receiver Jordan Jones continues to recover from right ankle surgery he underwent during camp.
"We thought that we'd have him back a couple of weeks ago, and it just hasn't worked out to that point," Morris said.
Hicks, who went 1-1 in starts against Portland State and at Ole Miss to open the season, went 19 of 39 for 182 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception against Auburn. He was sacked three times.
"I thought he did what he could at times," Craddock said. "A lot of times it was hard for him to even set his feet. I thought he did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket at times. We saw him step up in the pocket ... and hit C.J [O'Grady] for a touchdown.
"There were other times he would step up in the pocket and be getting hit right as he was throwing. So with that being said, I thought he played about as good as he could considering the circumstances."
Morris said the coaching staff felt after a week of evaluation that Hicks was better prepared to make the pre-snap checks and protection calls against the formidable Auburn defense.
"We just felt like he had a little better grasp of it, and so that was the final decision in it," he said.
Sports on 10/22/2019
Print Headline: Hicks nurses injury ahead of Alabama