“An MRI on Wednesday revealed that Chase Nelson sustained a traumatic patella tendon rupture Tuesday at practice,” McVeigh said. “He will miss the remainder of the 2008 season. We are hopeful he will return in time for spring practice, but expect him to make a full recovery by the 2009 playing season.”
The Tulsa, Okla., native appeared in four games last year before dislocating his wrist against Louisiana-Lafayette and missing the season’s final five contests. Nelson played in three games as a true freshman in 2006.
“It’s a tough loss for us,” head coach Phillip Fulmer said. “Injuries are part of football and sometimes you’re going to have injuries. I feel sorry for Chase because he’s had kind of one thing after another, after another. We’ll try to regroup and get Donald Langley and Victor Thomas even more opportunities.”
Fulmer and his staff played the mental side of football during Thursday’s 21/2-hour workout at Haslam Field.
“We have a ‘winning edge’ everyday and talk to the team about situations,” Fulmer said of the one-minute break leading into Period 3 each day. “Last year, the stall defense won the game against Vanderbilt when we had three straight three-and-outs to get the ball back. We scored and won the game because of it. Mississippi State closed the gap but we were able to drive in the fourth quarter. I think it was 9 minutes and 54 seconds we kept the ball in the fourth quarter and won a big ballgame as it turned out.
“All those situations, the more our guys understand about them, the better team we’re going to be.”
Tennessee has the liberty to adjust its practice schedule beginning Friday with the close of summer semester Thursday afternoon. The Vols are practicing Friday morning in advance of their first game-like exam this weekend at Neyland Stadium.
“Everything today and Friday is being geared toward the scrimmage Saturday,” Fulmer said. “We worked the style offense today; we’ll work two-minute as we go along, goal-line and short-yardage -- all those different situations that are going to come up during the season.”