The school announced Monday that Powell, who led the Gators with six sacks in 2011, suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during Saturday's spring game and will miss four to six months. He will have surgery as soon as the swelling subsides, the school said.
"Ronald is in good spirits and is very eager to do whatever is necessary to have a healthy, speedy recovery," Gators coach Will Muschamp said in a statement. "He has already started with prehab, and once the swelling goes down and he regains his range of motion, he will have the surgery."
Powell left the first half of the spring game after getting hit from behind. Muschamp said after the game that Powell suffered a sprained knee, but Powell left the stadium using crutches.
Powell, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound junior, had a tremendous offseason and spring, Muschamp said. He was named the defensive player of the day during both of Florida's scrimmages and appeared to be on the verge of becoming the elite pass-rusher many envisioned when he signed with the Gators in 2010 as the nation's top recruit.
Muschamp singled out Powell as someone who needed to play better early last season, and he responded by finishing the season with a team-high six sacks.
Powell is Florida's second key defensive player recovering from a torn ACL. Defensive tackle Dominique Easley missed the entire spring after suffering the same injury during Florida's loss to rival Florida State last season.