Missouri Tigers football coach shares unfortunate injury news about star MU linebacker

Michael Clubb/AP

Missouri Tigers linebacker Chad Bailey will be out with an injury for approximately the next 21 days, MU football coach Eli Drinkwitz said Friday afternoon.

The coach said Bailey, a team captain for the second straight year, was undergoing a procedure that likely will see him miss Missouri’s first two games, both at home: South Dakota Thursday and Middle Tennessee State Sept. 9.

The likelihood of Bailey’s availability for Mizzou’s third game, against Kansas State on Sept. 16, is hard to gauge right now based on the 21-day recovery timeframe.

“We anticipate he’ll be out for 21 days — maybe less, maybe more ...” Drinkwitz said. “Disappointed for Chad. I know he’s worked really hard to be a great leader, obviously a captain.

“He’s one of the best returning mike linebackers in the SEC, which puts you in some rare air in all of college football. But he’s attacking (his recovery). He’s got the right mentality; he’ll be back as soon as possible.”

Drinkwitz said he doesn’t anticipate any other absences among his starting players for the Tigers’ Thursday night season opener at Faurot Field. Starting safety Jaylon Carlies had missed portions of camp.

Bailey has been a mainstay of the Tigers’ defense for the past two seasons, and he frequently appeared in games in the three seasons before that. He enters the 2023 campaign with a total of 43 career appearances.

During the 2022 season, he recorded 57 total tackles, which ranked third on the team, and made 8.5 tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks.

Bailey was voted by his teammates during training camp as a captain for the second straight season. He was absent from several portions of practices that were open to media over the past month, but he did make it onto the field later in the month.

Until Bailey returns, Dameon Wilson, a sophomore linebacker out of Grover, North Carolina, is in line to pair up with weakside linebacker and preseason All-SEC second-team selection Ty’Ron Hopper.

Graduate student Chuck Hicks could also see some playing time at the position.

“We’re always going to miss a Chad Bailey, but we’re confident,” Drinkwitz said. “I told Dameon, ‘You played every snap in the Georgia game (last season). You know you’re ready for this moment.’”

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