McNeal, Chavis out for Wake Forest; Maye to practice on Thursday

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CLEMSON – Clemson wide receiver Bryce McNeal injured his heel in Tuesday’s practice and will miss this Saturday’s game at Wake Forest.

Head coach Dabo Swinney said the Tigers are beginning to look like a MASH unit.

“It doesn’t look like Bryce is going to be able to play,” Swinney said following Wednesday’s practice. “Somehow or other, he came down on his heel the wrong way last night. It’s kind of like plantar fasciitis and maybe a little bit of a heel spur. It’s going to be hard to do what he needs to do on Saturday.”

Linebacker Brandon Maye, who suffered a concussion early against Florida St., still hasn’t practiced.

“Brandon is still going through the protocol you have to go through with a concussion,” Swinney said. “He was able to run today, but wasn’t able to practice. Tomorrow will be his first day of practice, so that isn’t good.”

Swinney said that defensive end Kourtnei Brown, injured at Boston College three weeks ago, should be back this weekend. However, defensive tackle Miguel Chavis will probably not play against the Demon Deacons. He missed the Boston College and N.C. State games before returning last weekend, but reinjured his leg against the Seminoles. Swinney said he hoped a week of rest would have Chavis ready for the South Carolina game.

Swinney said that practices have been good this week.

“Practice has been great, and we have good enthusiasm,” he said. “I wish people could see what I see from the inside. These guys have something special about them, and we’ve had good play on both sides of the ball. They’ve been working hard on the game plan all week. The kicking is going good. [Chandler] Catanzaro has had a good week. If we play like we practice, we’ll be alright.”

The head coach said the rash of injuries are just part of football, and that he was proud how the young receivers have responded to this season’s adversity.

“That’s part of the game,” he said. “That’s ball. You just have to keep moving. That’s what we’ve been doing. I’m really proud of our receivers. As I said earlier in the year, they’re a bunch of no-names. This spring, they’re going to be saying, ‘I’m glad we have Nuke Hopkins back. I’m glad we have Jaron [Brown] back. I’m glad Bryce is. Those guys have emerged and made some big plays. Unfortunately, because the way that game ended last week, nobody talks about that drive. What a good drive that was, and some big plays that were made by Jaron and Nuke. We made the pressure kick.

“That boy [Catanzaro] had the weight of the world out there on him to make that kick. It’s a shame that it got lost in the aftermath. We’ve really grown up a lot. We’re not as good as we’re going to be next year or the next year at that position, because they’re going to keep getting better. I’m really excited about our young talent at receiver. I really thought Jaron was going to grow into a heck of a player, and he has. The same thing with Nuke and Bryce. Marquan has been a real steady guy for us this year. I think moving Brandon Ford to tight end is going to really benefit him and us. He’s just as sophomore. “

If McNeal is unable to go, Marquan Jones will get the start the “A”, or slot, receiver.

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