Matt Jones, Jon Halapio ruled out

Updated: August 23, 2013, 1:58 PM ET
By Michael DiRocco | GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida will not have starting running back Matt Jones or right guard Jon Halapio for the Aug. 31 season opener, and their status for the following few weeks is uncertain.

UF coach Will Muschamp said Jones, who has missed the entire camp as he recovers from a viral infection, will undergo more blood work Friday and is questionable for the Sept. 7 game against Miami. Halapio will miss at least the first two games with a torn pectoral but could return for the 10th-ranked Gators' Sept. 21 game against Tennessee.

The 6-foot-2, 226-pound Jones won the starting job during spring practice but was diagnosed with a viral infection just before preseason practices began. Jones, who rushed for 275 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman backup to Mike Gillislee last season, has been working out for several weeks but has yet to be cleared to practice.

"He's doing very well," Muschamp said. "He's really progressing well as far as they're putting more on him each day as physical activity and lifting and different things. I've been very pleased with how he's progressed."

Muschamp said earlier this week that redshirt junior running back Mack Brown, who has 40 career carries, will be the Gators' top back. Redshirt sophomore Valdez Showers, who was moved from safety last week, and sophomore Mark Herndon, who was awarded a scholarship Tuesday, will be the top backups.

Neither Showers nor Herndon has carried the ball in a game.

Halapio suffered his injury lifting weights just before preseason practices began and has yet to fully participate in practice. The 6-3, 317-pound redshirt senior has started 27 consecutive games at right guard.

Muschamp said Halapio will miss the Toledo and Miami games but could return for the Tennessee game.

"I think that his pec is filling in and we feel really comfortable where he is, but certainly being his senior year we don't want to push it with him," Muschamp said. "But I would safely project for Tennessee. Possibly before that, but I would certainly say Tennessee."

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Moore, who started four games and played in nine as a freshman at Nebraska in 2011, will start at right guard. Moore has been working at that spot throughout camp.

In other injury news, Muschamp said defensive tackle Damien Jacobs (knee), fullback Hunter Joyer (hamstring) and defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (shoulder) are expected back Monday.

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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