GAINESVILLE, Fla. — No. 16 Florida could be without quarterback Luke Del Rio for the rest of the season.
The banged-up Gators also will be down three more starters Saturday against South Carolina, and two of those are out for the year.
Coach Jim McElwain made the announcements Monday, saying Del Rio will be sidelined "for a while" with a right shoulder injury.
"It's bad, man," McElwain said. "When you can't lift your duffel bag up, chances are something's hurt, right?"
Del Rio played through the pain in a 31-10 loss at Arkansas on Saturday, and McElwain acknowledged Monday that he should have pulled Del Rio at halftime because of the injury.
"He was banged up," McElwain said. "Played that way. And, you know, looking at myself in the mirror, we should have made a change at halftime, and yet part of the reason we didn't, obviously, we didn't know the severity of it."
McElwain said Del Rio was getting more tests to determine the extent of the injury.
Purdue transfer Austin Appleby likely will make his third start of the season, although McElwain left open the possibility of going with Kyle Trask or fellow freshman Feleipe Franks against the Gamecocks (5-4, 3-4 Southeastern Conference).
The Gators (6-2, 4-2) will be without center Cam Dillard (knee) and linebackers Jarrad Davis (ankle) and Alex Anzalone (arm). Dillard and Anzalone are out for the season.
Losing Davis and Anzalone would seemingly create huge holes in Florida's defense, which ranks second in the SEC in yards allowed. Freshman David Reese and redshirt freshman Kylan Johnson are expected to fill in for Davis and Anzalone.
"Those guys have played," McElwain said. "You know what? They're going to play a bunch this week."
Del Rio missed two games earlier this season because of a sprained ligament in his left knee. He returned against Missouri on Oct. 15 but wasn't the same.
He has completed 56.7 percent of his passes for 1,358 yards this season, with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. Six of those interceptions came in the last three games. His shoulder injury happened in the second quarter against the Razorbacks.
He landed awkwardly on it and was holding it before halftime.
"He's a tough guy. Never said anything," McElwain said. "It speaks for him and the guys were ready to come out. And yet, you know, we didn't execute. Like I said, had I known the severity, probably wouldn't have done that.".
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