The hard news: South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is questionable to play against Arkansas on Saturday with a rib cage muscle strain, an injury that caused him to ask out of last week's game against Kentucky just before kickoff.
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The soft news: Coach Steve Spurrier softened his stance on Clowney's decision not to play, suggesting that there was fault to go around in the controversy that resulted.
"Obviously, we all handled it poorly," Spurrier said, according to gogamecocks.com. "It caused some confusion. . . . Let me say this. If he never plays another snap here, we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina.
"He had something that was really bothering him, and hopefully, it'll be taken care of real soon."
Spurrier said Clowney is doing all he can to return as quickly as possible and has made two visits to the training room for treatment each day since Saturday. As for the distraction he's caused for his teammates, quarterback Connor Shaw said there is none.
"I think everybody else is letting it become a distraction," he said. "Our team doesn't feel that way at all. It doesn't faze us at all. I think it's just everybody surrounding us making it a big deal. All I know is, Clowney has helped us win a lot of games, and he will in the future as well."
Clearly, after Spurrier's remarks, both Spurrier and Clowney will have to make some amends. As much as a player doesn't want to be known for a lack of toughness, a coach doesn't want to be known for questioning his star player's character in public. And while Spurrier never did so directly, the inferences he made Saturday and Sunday were enough to create that perception.
Nevertheless, the clock continues to tick on what has been a disappointing season for Clowney, and that perception is getting progressively harder for him to shake.