Swinney expects Kelly to play this season

by - Senior Writer -

CLEMSON – The big news coming out of Saturday’s Orange and White Game in Death Valley concerned the health of quarterback Chad KellyChad Kelly
So. Quarterback
#11 6-2, 210
Buffalo, NY

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, who suffered an injury to his right knee on his team’s second drive, and early indications are that the New York native has a torn ACL.

Kelly showed glimpses of the future during the first quarter of Saturday’s game, leading his Orange squad on an early touchdown drive for a quick 7-0 lead.

On that drive, Kelly looked the part of a dynamic college quarterback, completing 6-of-7 passes for 43 yards and running twice for 14 yards, causing one person in the pressbox to proclaim that Kelly’s future is bright.

That future might now be on hold, however.

Kelly tried to make a cut on his squad’s second drive, and his right leg buckled underneath him, and he was carried to the sidelines in obvious pain. He later tried to walk to the locker room, but collapsed again, and the early returns are that Clemson’s medical staff think Kelly has suffered a torn ACL. He will have an MRI Sunday to confirm that diagnosis.

Kelly redshirted last season, and Clemson head coach Dabo SwinneyDabo Swinney
Head Coach
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said after the game that the team probably won’t seek a medical hardship for Kelly, and that they hope to have him back later in the 2013 season.

“He redshirted last year and I would be very surprised if he could get a hardship,” Swinney said after the game. “He has four years of eligibility remaining. Those [hardships] are for extreme things. I expect him to be back at some point this year, just not September. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be November. Adrian Peterson tore his ACL and came back and was MVP of the NFL. Who knows, maybe it won’t be an ACL, and they will do the MRI in the morning to make sure.”

Swinney said that his heart was broken for Kelly, who had a solid spring as he battled incumbent backup Cole StoudtCole Stoudt
Jr. Quarterback
#8 6-5, 205
Dublin, OH

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for the job behind starter Tajh BoydTajh Boyd
RS Sr. Quarterback
#10 6-1, 225
Hampton, VA

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“It’s a tough deal. He has a purple jersey on, and you can’t tackle him and unfortunately you can still be hurt,” Swinney said. “I wish I could explain why some things happen, and I wish I could take it away. But sometimes things just happen and that is a part of life. It happens to all of us – adversity comes. It is very disappointing for him and he has worked so hard.”

Swinney then said he expected Kelly to come back stronger than ever.

“He is just going to be a freshman. He isn’t losing a leg – he will come back better than ever in every way because it is in his DNA. I listened to Jim Kelly [Chad’s uncle, who is an NFL Hall of Famer], and he told us how they told him he would never throw again after having shoulder surgery, and he is in the Hall of Fame. He is made of the right things, and will do what he has to do with the rehab. I would be surprised if he doesn’t play at some point this year. It would be the latter part instead of the first part, but he will have a chance to get out there and play at some point his freshman year.”

TigerNet spoke with Jim Kelly before Saturday’s game, and he told us that an injury on a running play was the one thing he feared the most in an offense that features a running quarterback.

“Put it this way, this is not the offense that I would run, because there’s too much running for the quarterback,” Jim Kelly said. “You’ve seen me play, so you understand why I’m saying that. This offense is pretty much right up Chad’s alley, however. He’s a dual threat quarterback. To be honest with you, I don’t want to see them run that much because of the health aspect. Look at what happened to RGIII [Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III] this year when you start putting quarterbacks in that situation. But, for the college level and what Clemson wants to do, Chad MorrisChad Morris
Offensive Coordinator / QBs
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has done an unbelievable job. It’s an exciting offense that I think everyone wants to see.”

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