Saban: Yeldon ‘OK’ After Sustaining Ankle Sprain Against LSU
T.J. Yeldon dragged the tackler behind him for as long as he could until the pain gave way for both him and the ball.
The junior running back gained three yards on the run before an ankle injury sustained on the play brought him down, causing him to fumble as well in the process. LSU recovered the loose ball at the Alabama 6, and Yeldon lied on the ground for a moment before being helped off the field by trainers.
As a result of the injury, Yeldon did not return for the Crimson Tide’s final two series of the game – the game-tying drive at the end of regulation and the game-winning drive on the first possession of overtime. After the game, Alabama coach Nick Saban only knew that Yeldon had a “twisted ankle” and was unsure of the severity.
But on Monday during his weekly game week press conference, Saban provided an update on Yeldon with a better understanding of the injury's timetable moving forward.
"T.J.’s OK," Saban said. "He’s got a little ankle sprain. Probably will be a little bit slow the first couple days this week, but hopefully we’ll get him going later in the week and he’ll be OK."
Yeldon carried 15 times for 68 rushing yards against LSU, becoming the sixth player in Crimson Tide history to reach the 3,000-yard rushing barrier (3,029). Leading up to the game, Yeldon was questionable with a sprained foot sustained in Alabama’s previous game at Tennessee until Saban said that he would play “for sure” during the SEC coaches’ teleconference last Wednesday.
Asked what it would mean to have a healthy Yeldon this week in practice and for No. 1 Mississippi State on Saturday at Bryant-Denny Stadium, senior right tackle Austin Shepherd called it "huge."
"I mean, we’re not thin thin at running back, but I consider him one of our best players, a leader on the offense," Shepherd said.
Yeldon’s fumble against LSU proved to be costly but not backbreaking. The turnover occurred with 1:13 left in the fourth quarter in a 10-10 game, but the Tigers could only manage a field goal out of the short field with 50 seconds remaining. The Crimson Tide, with no timeouts remaining, tied it with a field goal of its own with three seconds left on the clock, then scored an overtime touchdown and made a defensive stand to win it, 20-13.
“T.J. was fine,” quarterback Blake Sims said during his postgame interview Saturday. “I went up to him and told him to keep his head. ‘We're going to go win this game. Don't think you lost the game for us because the game ain't over yet. Just go watch, we're going to win this game for you.’”