Hendon Hooker injury: Tennessee star QB, Heisman hopeful hurts knee vs. South Carolina, exits game

USATSI

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker suffered what appeared to be a significant injury midway through the fourth quarter of the Volunteers’ 63-38 road loss to South Carolina in Columbia on Saturday. The Heisman Trophy contender kept the ball on a zone read and went down in a non-contact injury to his left knee as he was attempting to cut through a hole to gain yardage.

Hooker was seen on the turf in obvious pain. He limped off the field and was immediately taken to the injury tent for evaluation, and his Tennessee teammates were encouraging Hooker as he exited the field. The play was reviewed and ruled a fumble after Hooker was initially ruled down. Hooker eventually walked to the locker room under his own power as backup Joe Milton entered the game in his place.

“We will evaluate him when we get back,” Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said after the game.

Hooker has been the most valuable player of No. 5 Tennessee’s dream season. He entered the game with 2,888 yards passing, 24 touchdowns, two interceptions, 405 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns. The senior transferred to Tennessee from Virginia Tech prior to last season, and took over as its starting quarterback after Week 2 of the 2021 season. He threw for 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and three interceptions last season while adding 613 yards and five touchdowns on the ground.

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