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USC's Jasper Brinkley To Miss Opener?

Brinkley is an All-SEC linebacker who missed 2007 with a knee injury and has been dealing with an ankle/heel problem throughout fall practice. That ankle may keep him out of next week's game, at least if this Spurrier radio show report is accurate:

The word from SOS last night at his call in show from wild Wings in the Vista is that Brinkley will be out for at least the NC State game. I heard Scott Hood of GamecockCentral.com say today that Brinkley will probably sit out Vandy as well. Spurrier seems to be confident that Sapp can fill his shoes.

Brinkley doesn't seem to have any doubts he'll play, however:

Brinkley estimates he is about 95 percent recovered from his sprained left ankle, which includes a strained ligament in his heel. Brinkley, whose 107 tackles in 2006 were twice as many as the Gamecocks’ next-leading tackler, said he would definitely play against North Carolina State next week.

Norwood has no doubts about it.

"Right now he’s just not pushing anything. It’s not bothering him," Norwood said. "He’s just waiting ‘til the game, really."

But a couple of days ago, defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson suggested Brinkley's status was up in the air, and I kind of doubt that's changed.

Johnson also expressed some doubt that All-SEC linebacker Jasper Brinkley would be ready for the season opener, saying how healthy the ankle is all week will determine that.

"Jasper’s starting to get more and more work. If he can practice a good week of practice before the first game, he’ll be ready to go. If he can’t, Marvin Sapp has had a great camp and is ready to go."