We're still waiting for Saturday's SEC Championship to decide Ole Miss' bowl fate (a Bama win means the Sugar), but no matter where the Rebs take the field, they won't be joined by two of their starting defenders. All-American defensive back Tony Conner and defensive end Fadol Brown will undergo surgery for different injuries in lieu of a bowl, according to The Clarion-Ledger.
For Conner, it's a scheduled follow-up procedure for the knee surgery he had back in September to repair a torn meniscus. The initial injury, which came late in the win over Bama, sidelined him for six weeks. He was never close to 100 percent in his two games back and ended up sitting out the Egg Bowl. Brown's procedure is for a stress fracture in his foot. It was an injury that held him out against LSU and was supposed to keep him out against State, though he ended up playing significant snaps in that game.
In both cases, we're talking about injuries that these guys might have been able to keep playing through, but that would mean delaying their recoveries by another month. Brown is expected to be ready in time for spring practice; Conner's availability for those workouts is, according to the CL, "uncertain."
It's not clear whether that uncertainty stems from the injury or Conner's pro potential, but everything we've heard from Conner and Hugh Freeze suggests he'll be back for his senior year in Oxford.
Channing Ward will make his second consecutive start in place of Brown and we'll see plenty of John Youngblood rotating in. Mike Hilton will keep filling in for Conner at the husky spot, though the coaches' tendency to rotate him out to corner means Zedrick Woods will spend plenty of time in that spot as well.