KNOXVILLE -- Tennessee lost its second preseason first-team All-Southeastern Conference player in as many games with the announcement Monday that senior tailback Gerald Riggs Jr. is gone for the season.
UT head athletic trainer Keith Clements said Riggs suffered lower leg and ankle injuries during the fourth quarter of Saturday's 6-3 loss to Alabama. The evaluation of his injuries continues this week but Clements said Riggs definitely will miss the remainder of the 2005 football season.
The damage occurred at the end of a 24-yard run by Riggs with just more than six minutes remaining in the game. Crimson Tide defensive back Simeon Castille fell on Riggs' right leg and ankle while making the tackle near the left sideline.
"I'm going to allow the UT Sports Medicine staff and team of orthopedic surgeons to continue directing my care," Riggs said. "I think that gives me the best opportunity to return successfully from this injury."
The Chattanooga native closes his UT career 13th on the school's all-time rushing list despite making only nine collegiate starts. Riggs rushed for 1,893 yards on 383 attempts for a 4.9-yard average.
He scored 10 career touchdowns, the longest being an 80-yard jaunt highlighted his 182-yard rushing effort in the 2004 SEC Championship Game against Auburn. Riggs led the Vols his junior season with 1,107 yards on the ground, joining Cedric Houston to become Tennessee's first pair of 1,000-yard rushers in the same season.
Riggs, whose father played a combined 10 NFL seasons for the Falcons and Redskins, joins teammate Jason Allen on the sidelines. Allen suffered a season-ending hip injury two weeks earlier against Georgia. Both players were widely acclaimed heading into the 2005 season, landing on numerous preseason All-SEC teams and making several national watch lists.
Clements also reported that defensive end Parys Haralson was discharged from UT Medical Center Monday afternoon. The senior captain spent the night undergoing observation and treatment for an illness.
INJURY REPORT (South Carolina Week): Probable -- OG Rob Smith (ribs), DT Justin Harrell (wrist); Questionable -- DE Parys Haralson (illness); Out for Season -- TB Gerald Riggs (ankle, leg).
(E-mail Stan Crawley at email@example.com)