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Stamper calls Spikes' injury "pretty serious"

GAINESVILLE -- Florida coach Urban Meyer indicated on Tuesday that he was discouraged with the apparent severity of Brandon Spikes' toe injury. But Meyer said it was too early in the week to rule Spikes unavailable for Saturday's season opener.

Replacing Spikes in the starting line-up would be redshirt junior Ryan Stamper, who defensive coordinator Charlie Strong says is one of the most reliable players on the team. Stamper saw action in 13 games last season and started against Georgia. He has a cursory knowledge of each linebacker position. On Tuesday, Stamper said that Spikes' injury seemed "pretty serious."

"I don't know if [Spikes] is going to be out a couple of weeks but it seems like a pretty serious injury," Stamper said. "Coach probably doesn't want to stress the injury too much. He probably could play with it but I don't know if they want to take that chance."

If Spikes is unavailable on Saturday, Stamper said he will be excited to start for a season opener, something he has never done. Coaches have told Stamper to be prepared to replace Spikes for the first three games of the season.

"If [Spikes] can't go and I get that opportunity that's just a great honor for me -- first game," Stamper said. "I'll be ready to go any game: Hawaii, Miami or Tennessee. I've just got to be ready if my number is called."

-jo-

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