GAINESVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 1: Quarterback John Brantley #12 of the Florida Gators leaves the field with a second-quarter injury against the Alabama Crimson Tide October 1, 2011 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Nobody seems to really know how long John Brantley will be out for Florida, but the early returns are not promising for Florida or its once-beleaguered quarterback who seemed to show some promise this year. He was knocked out of the game in the second quarter of the Gators' game against Alabama, and as we draw near the end of the third quarter, Brantley is still nowhere to be seen.
Brantley was hurt when Courtney Upshaw delivered a hard but completely legal sack late in the first half. The quarterback's leg twisted underneath him, and Brantley could be seen apparently screaming in pain behind his facemask.
Brantley's replacement, Jeff Driskel, didn't complete a pass until his fifth attempt -- an eight-yard throw to an airborne receiver that was clearly being conceded by Alabama. Driskel has put together a couple of nice runs to make up for the lack of play with his arm.
If Brantley is out for an extended period of time, it could mark the end of what has been one of the better reclamation stories of the SEC this season. Brantley has clearly thrived in new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis' scheme, raising his quarterback efficiency rating by 30 points and already throwing for five touchdowns -- after tossing nine scoring strikes all season in 2010.
And, of course, there is the whole matter of Florida looking like the favorite in the SEC East. The Gators might still be the front-runners given today's game in Columbia, but losing a signal-caller that finally seemed to be hitting his stride can't help.