Auburn Tigers running back JaTarvious Whitlow is expected to miss four to six weeks as he recovers from knee surgery, coach Gus Malzahn announced Tuesday afternoon.
Whitlow suffered the injury late in Saturday’s 24-13 loss at Florida. He had surgery on Tuesday.
The redshirt sophomore, leads the SEC with seven rushing touchdowns. His 544 rushing yards rank second in the league behind Mississippi State’s Kylin Hill (596).
It was the 209-pound Whitlow who ran into the MSU bulldog mascot, Jak, after scoring in the Tigers’ 56-23 victory against MSU two weeks ago.
No. 12 Auburn (5-1) is off this week before traveling to Arkansas (2-3) on Oct. 19.
“Obviously, he’s an impact player on offense,” Malzahn told reporters Tuesday. “Like I said, the good thing is, for that, we do have a deep group at running back. All those guys got a chance to mix in with the 1s and 2s today, and really, it’s a good week, off week, to get those other guys ready.”
While Malzahn’s timetable for Whitlow’s recovery means the star running back will miss a pivotal Oct. 26 trip to LSU and a Nov. 2 visit from Ole Miss, it does allow for the possibility that he could return in time for the final three contests of the regular season, which includes home games with Georgia on Nov. 16 and Alabama on Nov. 30.
Three of those are 5-0 and in the AP’s top 5 – Alabama No. 1, Georgia No. 3 and LSU No. 5.