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Monday, August 20, 2012
TE Colin Thompson to have surgery

By Michael DiRocco
GatorNation

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's bad luck with its tight ends continued Monday with coach Will Muschamp's announcement that freshman Colin Thompson will have a second surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right foot and will miss at least two months.

That leaves the Gators with three healthy tight ends, none of whom has caught a pass in a game.

Thompson, the nation's No. 2 tight end coming out of Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood, had a similar surgery in the spring and was expected to miss the first 10 days of preseason practices.

"I met with (head team physician) Mike Moser several days ago, and generally this is a six-week procedure. But he's redoing a procedure, so he said, 'Will, it's probably going to be longer than that,'" Muschamp said of the surgery in which Thompson will have a screw inserted to stabilize the break.

"He knows when I hear something, that's what I go by," Muschamp said. "He didn't want to give me a definite time. It's unfortunate and disappointing, but I think Mike will know more after the surgery Wednesday about the timetable."

Thompson, 6-foot-4 and 255 pounds, was expected to get significant playing time as a freshman, especially with the loss of A.C. Leonard (transfer) and the MCL sprain that has kept starter Jordan Reed out for more than a week.

Muschamp said Reed participated in Monday morning's walk-through and was hopeful the tight end could return to practice in a noncontact capacity on Tuesday for the Gators.

Reed is the only tight end on the roster who has caught a pass in a game. The redshirt junior has 34 career catches for 386 yards and three touchdowns.

Sophomores Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook came to Florida as defensive linemen. Westbrook (6-5, 268) played in three games as a defensive end and on special teams last season and was moved to tight end after spring practice. Burton (6-4, 242) enrolled in January 2011 as a defensive end and practiced there in the spring but moved to tight end in the fall because of injuries. He played in one game last season.

The other option at tight end is freshman Kent Taylor, the nation's No. 4 tight end coming out of Land O'Lakes, Fla./Land O'Lakes. Taylor has been impressive as a receiver and likely will work as a flex player because at 6-5 and 220 pounds he's a bit undersized to play along the line of scrimmage.

"Kent catches the ball extremely well," Muschamp said. "He's very athletic. ... I know one thing: He can go get the ball down the field. He can catch the ball. He can do some of those things."

Florida is ranked 23rd in the Associated Press and USA Today preseason polls.