CeCe Jefferson’s shoulder injury a major concern for Gators’ defense

CeCe Jefferson

The Florida Gators received bad news on the injury front coming out of Dan Mullen’s first spring game. Senior defensive end CeCe Jefferson, who turned down a chance at the NFL to return to Gainesville for one more year, was reportedly injured in last Saturday’s Orange and Blue game.

According to the Gainesville Sun, Jefferson will be out a minimum of four months after undergoing “significant” shoulder surgery.

Jefferson reportedly suffered the injury in the first half of the spring game and did not return.

The Gators do have several promising defensive linemen who stood out this spring such as junior defensive ends Antonneous Clayton and Jachai Polite, along with redshirt-junior Jabari Zuniga, but there is no question that if Jefferson were to miss any time in the regular season, that would be a giant blow to the team’s defense.

If Jefferson were to be sidelined four months, that would mean he would likely miss most of, if not all, of the preseason, but could potentially be back for the season opener vs Charleston Southern on September 1. That, of course, doesn’t take into consideration any potential setbacks that could arise in his recovery, and it’s unreasonable to expect him to be in game-shape the minute he’s medically-cleared to participate.

Jefferson, who led the Gators in tackles for loss and sacks in 2017, is expected to play a vital part in the Florida defense under new coordinator Todd Grantham; this injury could hinder those expectations.

Florida begins SEC play on September 8th vs. Kentucky and that is the date Gator fans should have circled on their calendars in hopes that Jefferson is 100 percent healthy.

RELATED: Optimism for Gators future can be found during spring game.

(You can follow Ryan Green on Twitter @RyanGreenGN)

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