Mack Brown was back with the media on Monday to talk about the latest news around the team following their bye week, including the latest injury report. Brown updated the status of graduate defensive tackle Raymond Vohasek, who was declared out for the season last Monday, and also revealed that three players have returned to the field after missing at least one game.
Vohasek, as Brown announced on Wednesday, will have surgery on an upper-body injury that will force him to miss the remainder of his sixth and final season of eligibility at Carolina. Despite the fact that he has been declared out for the year, his injury has not been specified, but the hope is that he can recover from the injury and be with the team down the stretch of the season.
Meanwhile, three players who missed the Duke game due to injury are officially back to practice and look as if they will play on Saturday. Starting guard William Barnes looks poised to return to the lineup after missing the game in Durham with an upper-body injury, a huge boost for an offensive line that allowed the most quarterback pressures of the season. Barnes has graded out much better than Jonathan Adorno so far this season in pass protection and has allowed just one more quarterback pressure in 103 fewer reps.
Senior Don Chapman is back after missing each of the last two games with his own upper-body injury. This latest absence combined with the game that he missed earlier in the season due to an off-the-field issue certainly brings about a question about where exactly he stands on the depth chart, but with how much his fellow safeties in the room have struggled, he might have a chance to come back and contribute.
As for D.J. Jones, he won’t necessarily be needed for his rushing ability, but rather for what he brings in pass protection. It isn’t a coincidence that the team allowed the most pressure on the quarterback in the game with their best pass protecting back out, so his return should help against a Pittsburgh defense that might not be as dominant as some thought, but is still top 25 in the country.
These three guys making their returns this weekend is big as this team looks to win another important game in the landscape of the ACC Coastal.