Injury bug strikes Virginia defense again; LB Mack wearing cast

By Jerry Ratcliffe

UVA senior linebacker Jordan Mack (far right) is seen sporting a cast and using a rolling scooter during the team’s Orange Bowl practice Friday (Photo courtesy Damon Dillman, WCAV CBS19 Sports).

Apparently, starting linebacker Jordan Mack, one of Virginia’s defensive captains, will miss the Orange Bowl.

Mack, who has played hurt most of the season, was wearing a soft cast and on a rolling scooter at Friday’s practice.

There has been no official confirmation that Mack will not play. He is still listed as the starter on Virginia’s depth chart.

Should he not play, it would be just another blow to Virginia’s defense — a unit which has been hobbled by injuries during the second half of the season in which several starters were lost, including three in the secondary.

Mack is a 6-foot-2, 230-pound senior inside linebacker who has started 43 games during his career, second only to fellow defensive mate Eli Hanback with 47.

Mack is the third-leading tackler on the team with 69, but is the Cavaliers’ leader in quarterback sacks with 7.5, along with 13 quarterback hurries (also leads team), 8.5 tackles for loss, and two forced fumbles, most on the squad.

The linebacker was also noted for his smarts, having been a finalist for the prestigious Campbell Trophy, considered the academic Heisman.

Mack was one of the key elements of Virginia’s pass rush, which posted a program-record 45 sacks this season.

He is expected to be replaced by talented freshman Nick Jackson (6-1, 225), who has played in all 13 games, started one, and has 24 tackles on the season. Jackson has two quarterback hurries, but no sacks, and one tackle for loss.

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