Miami star Zion Nelson unlikely to return this 12 months after setback from offseason surgical procedure


Zion Nelson, whose junior season started with All-America recognition and early hype as a possible first-round decide within the 2023 NFL Draft, is unlikely to return this season after present process offseason knee surgical procedure and taking part in in only one recreation.

“Zion,” coach Mario Cristobal mentioned, “I don’t foresee it happening this season.”

The star sort out made his solely look of the season in Week 3, taking part in as a reserve in Miami’s September loss to the then-No. 24 Texas A&M Aggies. He then sat out the Hurricanes’ beautiful loss to the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in Week 4 and Cristobal in October mentioned the 6-foot-5, 316-pound offensive lineman had “a setback” in his restoration from surgical procedure.

Nelson has not performed since.

It has been a serious blow to Miami’s struggling offense. Nelson earned preseason All-America recognition from Athlon, College Football News and The Athletic in the summertime, and was purported to be the most effective left tackles within the nation with 33 video games of beginning expertise.

Instead, he by no means absolutely recovered from July surgical procedure, leaving the Hurricanes (4-5, 2-3 Atlantic Coast) with out their greatest lineman.

John Campbell Jr. has began each recreation at left sort out in Nelson’s place and fellow offensive lineman DJ Sciafe Jr. has began each recreation at proper sort out, however the inside spots have been a revolving door because of accidents to all three starters. Scaife additionally has expertise at proper guard and Nelson’s well being would’ve given Miami some badly wanted flexibility, in addition to a star-level offensive line anchor.

Nelson was a little-known three-star tackle, in response to the 247Sports composite rankings, when he signed with the Hurricanes, but he gained the beginning job at left sort out instantly and principally has not let it go, beginning 33 of 36 video games in his first 4 seasons at Miami. In the summer season, he determined to have surgical procedure to wash some unfastened cartilage out of his left knee — he initially tried to keep away from it, as a substitute attempting to strengthen the leg and play by way of the problem — with the hope he’d be prepared for the common season or, no less than, ACC play.

The plan by no means got here to fruition. Nelson returned to follow close to the tip of coaching camp, however the Hurricanes opted to not rush him and held him out for the primary two weeks of the season, solely inserting him as soon as they traveled to Texas for a top-25 showdown.

Those 41 snaps he performed in College Station, nevertheless, more and more appear to be all Miami will get from him this 12 months.

Nelson will be capable of use this as a redshirt season and retain extra seasons of eligibility transferring ahead, ought to he resolve to not declare for the NFL Draft.

As for the injury-riddled inside spots, Justice Oluwaseun, started the season because the beginning proper guard, “won’t” return this 12 months, Cristobal mentioned.

There’s extra optimistic news, although, on fellow offensive lineman Jalen Rivers, who has began each recreation at left guard and needed to be helped off the sector within the first half of the Hurricanes’ 45-3 loss to the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday: His damage shouldn’t be a season-ending deal.

“Jalen is week to week,” Cristobal mentioned. “He’s improving daily, so we’re excited about him.”

This story was initially revealed November 9, 2022 12:30 PM.

David Wilson, a Maryland native, is the Miami Herald’s utility man for sports activities protection.


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