Ole Miss wideout D.K. Metcalf will miss the rest of the 2018 season after he suffered an apparent neck injury in the Rebels’ win over Arkansas on Saturday.
“D.K. Metcalf hurt his neck,” head coach Matt Luke said. “It’s a little bit more serious than we thought. He’ll be done for the season.”
Metcalf, an Oxford native and former SEC All-Freshman team member, led the Rebels in receiving touchdowns with five this season, and was second on the team in receptions with 26 and receiving yards with 569.
Luke said the injury will likely require surgery, but that Metcalf’s long-term health is not in jeopardy.
“Long term, he is going to be fine, but I think it’s going to require surgery,” Luke said. “We’re still looking to make sure we have the very best care and everything for him. It’s not a long-term issue, but it is going to be one where he’ll be done for the season. It has nothing to do with the spinal, it’s all vertebrae, but again long term he is going to be fine, it’s just something that will prevent him from playing for the rest of the season.”
In offensive coordinator Phil Longo’s high-powered offense, Metcalf is a big, physical receiver who punishes smaller cornerbacks and provides the Rebels a deep threat on the outside. In his absence, the Rebels will rely heavily on junior standout A.J. Brown, as well as speedy senior Damarkus Lodge and sophomore Braylon Sanders.
“This one hit me hard,” Brown said in an Instagram post Monday. “(It’s going to) be different not going to war with you right next to me but I know (you are) only gonna be a few steps away. Love you brother.”
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This one hit me hard . Bruh we worked so hard this offseason for these moments. Your success was my success. We’ve had talks about the future and how everything suppose to go but sometimes God has other plans . I really don’t even know what to say but I know God never make mistakes . Romans 8:18 – The pain you have been feeling cannot compared to the joy that is coming . Gone be different not going to war with you right next to me but I know your only gonna be a few steps away. Love you brother . Shake back 1 4 .The return!!❤️🤞🏾
Metcalf’s ability to draw safeties to the outside and open up the middle of the field for Brown and junior tight end Dawson Knox will be sorely missed, and the responsibility will now be left mostly to Lodge.
“Braylon Sanders will step in there, and then you have Elijah Moore, so you may be able to move A.J. Brown around some or let Elijah and A.J. play at the same time,” Luke said. “Braylon Sanders has done well. He would normally be the replacement for D.K. if he ran a deep route, so he’s the next guy to step in there.”
Metcalf received a medical redshirt during his freshman season in 2016 after breaking his foot against Wofford, an injury that caused him to miss the final 10 games of the season. Metcalf returned in 2017 and recorded 39 receptions for 646 yards and seven touchdowns.
Metcalf is the latest on a long list of season-ending injuries for the Rebels this year, which includes defensive backs Jaylon Jones and C.J. Moore. The Rebels will especially miss Metcalf this week when they take on an Auburn defense that is ranked No. 31 in the country in total defense, No. 14 in scoring defense and No. 46 in passing yards allowed.