James Franklin stays positive in wake of injury

Franklin has dealt with injuries in the past and will use that experience to his benefit.
Senior quarterback James Franklin is sandwiched between Georgia's Jordan Jenkins and Amarlo Herrera on Saturday. Franklin left the game in a sling with a separated shoulder and is expected to be out for three to five weeks. Courtesy of The Red & Black

A sprained shoulder will keep senior quarterback James Franklin on the sidelines for three to five weeks, coach Gary Pinkel said at his weekly press conference.

“I am not real worried about the timeline because I am going to work hard and try to come back as soon as I can,” said Franklin, who was all smiles at media day Monday.

Within that timeframe, No. 14 Missouri (6-0, 2-0 SEC) hosts No. 22 Florida (Oct. 19), No. 11 South Carolina (Oct. 26) and Tennessee (Nov. 2) then travels to Kentucky (Nov. 9) and Ole Miss (Nov. 23). The Tigers have a bye week between Kentucky and Ole Miss, which Pinkel said is in a good spot for Franklin’s recovery.

“Really, there is no reason to get frustrated or sad about it,” Franklin said. “That is not really going to change anything. It definitely stinks being my senior year, but there's nothing I can do about it.”

Franklin was injured early in the fourth quarter of the Missouri Tigers’ Oct. 12 game against the Georgia Bulldogs. The Tigers were up by two and needed a score. Franklin hit the ground after pitching the ball to the sidelines. He said it felt like a stinger.

Pinkel said the coaching staff sent video of that play to the Southeastern Conference so officials can review whether or not the hit was late or targeted.

"You hate seeing James go down,” sophomore center Evan Boehm said. “With the season he was having and the numbers he was putting up, that was something special. But you know, things like that happens, and you can't really dwell upon that.”

This is the third time Franklin will not play because of a shoulder injury. In March 2012, he had surgery that prevented him from participating in spring practice. During the Tigers’ 2012 season, he suffered an inflamed bursa sac in the same shoulder.

“It’s good and bad that it happened last year,” Franklin said. “I think we can handle it very well. We are definitely a lot better than last year.”

In 2012, quarterback troubles began early in the season when Franklin was sidelined in the Sept. 21 contest against Arizona State. Sophomore Corbin Berkstresser stepped in and the two would alternate for the duration of the season. Franklin left during the Oct. 6 game against Vanderbilt with a concussion. He missed the following game against Alabama.

Franklin is now trying to make something good out of last year’s injuries.

“It definitely helps because I know what to expect and I hope to use that experience in a positive way,” he said.

After the injury, Franklin headed to the locker room and emerged to celebrate the team’s 41-26 victory over the Bulldogs. Pinkel said there were a contrast of emotions in the locker room.

“We had a great win and then had James,” Pinkel said. “He was playing as good as any quarterback we have ever had. That’s life. I feel for him. We have a team that loves him. He’s got to start coaching now.”

Franklin said he is working with redshirt freshman Maty Mauk and offering encouragement. As for Mauk and how he will do against the Gators, Franklin said fans just have to come and watch Saturday.

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