Gators' Rainey hampered by groin injury, will play

Updated: December 4, 2008, 8:41 PM ET
Associated Press

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's leading rusher Chris Rainey will play in the SEC Championship game against top-ranked Alabama on Saturday despite being hampered by a groin injury for more than a month.

Florida coach Urban Meyer first disclosed the injury Thursday night when he was asked about Rainey limping off the practice field.

"It won't affect him during the game," said Meyer, who claimed he did not know the specifics of the injury or when it occurred. "He's had it for, like, five weeks now."

The speedy running back may need offseason surgery to correct the problem, Meyer said.

Rainey leads the second-ranked Gators (11-1) with 654 yards rushing and has four touchdowns. Rainey also is tied with freshman Jeffrey Demps with a team-high eight runs of 20 or more yards, including a 73-yarder against The Citadel and a 75-yard touchdown run against Arkansas.

Rainey had a career-high 142 yards on only seven carries against The Citadel, but his best game came at Arkansas on Oct. 4, when he ran for 103 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. He also ran for 97 yards on just eight carries against Florida State last Saturday.

Rainey is averaging 8 yards per carry, third-best on the team behind Demps (9.6) and Percy Harvin (8.8).

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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