NOTEBOOK: Conyers out for season after suffering ACL injury

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The hits kept coming for Ole Miss on Monday.

Head coach Hugh Freeze confirmed at his weekly press conference that offensive lineman Robert Conyers will be out for the rest of the season after suffering an ACL injury in his right knee.

Conyers was injured midway through the game against Memphis on Saturday, and Freeze did not want to comment on the injury any further postgame other than saying it looked bad at the onset.

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Conyers had been battling a sprained left knee through the first six games but managed to still play and was the Rebels’ starting center through first seven games.

“That is an issue we seem to have our fair share with this year,” Freeze said of the mounting injuries. “You have to keep on with the players you have.”

With Conyers done for the season, the duties at center will fall on the shoulders of seniors Ben Still and Justin Bell, who will make the move from guard. Bell is recovering himself from an ankle injury he suffered that caused him to miss three games. He returned to the starting lineup Saturday.

Moving around the offensive line is nothing new for Bell as he has practiced as the backup center off and on since last spring. Lack of game reps at the position is not an area of concern for Bell as he is relying on the experience he’s gained in practice going against an elite defensive front.

“I feel like we’ve got the best d-line in the nation, so I’m going against the best every day in practice,” Bell said. “I’m pretty sure that transitioning to the game won’t be too tough on me. The coaches love the fact that I know the offense and I know the terminology.”

Tunsil returns
Sunday marked a new game week for Ole Miss, which also meant junior offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is officially back in the starting lineup.

Tunsil had been sitting out, serving what was eventually announced as a seven-game suspension for violating NCAA rules. The return of one of the nation’s best lineman comes at a great time for the Rebels, having lost Conyers on Saturday.

Tunsil’s insertion into the lineup means Ole Miss could have some semblance of what it anticipated its offensive front looking like at the beginning of the season.

Fahn Cooper will move back to right tackle while Rod Taylor and Jordan Sims will man the right guard slot. Aaron Morris and Javon Patterson will rotate at left guard with Christian Morris at left tackle behind Tunsil.

“Hopefully we will be able to stay healthy with those guys,” Freeze said. “We are very optimistic in getting that crew back together.”

More injuries
After suffering a concussion due to being tackled on his head, defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche is still going through the concussion protocol this week. He is joined by punter Will Gleeson and Trae Elston.

Gleeson and Elston were injured against Memphis as well. Mike Hilton also left in the second half, though his injury wasn’t specified.

“As far as Robert, you just don’t know,” Freeze said. “I know he loves to play the game. I am not in charge of protocols, but I know he loves the game and wants to play. Ultimately the doctors will have to clear them.”