GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida quarterback Kyle Trask said his sprained knee is “progressing along nicely.”
Trask was wearing a compression sleeve and a brace on his left knee Monday, two days after injuring it on a play coach Dan Mullen now regrets calling “dirty” during a 24-13 victory over then-No. 7 Auburn.
Trask said the pain is subsiding and he expects it to feel even better by the time the Gators (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) play at fifth-ranked LSU (5-0, 1-0) on Saturday night.
“It’s definitely better today than it’s been,” he said. “It’s been getting better every single day. The pain is kind of going away now.”
Trask injured his knee on a low hit by Auburn defensive lineman Marlon Davidson, who was shoved into Trask by left tackle Stone Forsythe. Mullen was critical of Davidson at halftime, telling CBS that “hopefully the league really tries to keep quarterbacks safe from dirty plays.”
Mullen backed off his comments slightly after the game, but conceded Monday that he shouldn’t have used the word “dirty.”
“Maybe the use of that word, maybe that wasn’t the right word at the time,” Mullen said. “I don’t think that was being coached or there was intent to go injure him on that play. I think that’s something, when you look at player safety, we’ve got to really pay attention. I know as a league everyone wants to preach player safety, player safety, player safety. Talk about it, but what are we doing about it?”
Mullen added that the play would have been flagged in the NFL, which has stricter rules about hitting quarterbacks high and low.
“Maybe the choice of words at the time was wrong, but it’s more a debate of, ‘I think those plays we want to try to get out of the game,'” Mullen said. “Plays where guys have a significant opportunity to get injured, those are the plays. Helmet-to-helmet hits, plays where players have a great chance of being injured, we want to get out of the game.”
Trask stayed on the ground, writhing in pain, before trainers got to him. They eventually helped him to his feet, and Trask walked to the locker room without any assistance.
He returned to a raucous ovation and replaced Emory Jones late in the second quarter, but Trask did little in the second half.
He completed 19 of 31 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns, with both scores coming before his injury.
Davidson approached Trask after the game and apologized, wanting to make it clear the low hit was unintentional.
“I really respected that,” Trask said. “After seeing the play, I didn’t think he was trying to hurt me intentionally or anything like that. I felt like that says a lot about his character to come up and apologize even though he obviously wasn’t trying to do it on purpose. He just wanted to let me know, and I really respect him for that.”
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