Clemson receiver Mike Williams has a fracture in his neck that Tigers coach Dabo Swinney said might keep him out all season.
Swinney said Sunday that an MRI showed a small fracture after Clemson's 1,000-yard receiver slammed into the padded goalpost support in the first quarter Saturday against Wofford. Williams was down for several moments and eventually strapped onto cart and taken off the field.
Williams was back with his teammates by the end of the game, wearing a neck brace and moving comfortably. Swinney said Williams' prognosis was good for a full recovery and a return to football.
"We're really fortunate it wasn't worse," Swinney said by phone.
However, Swinney was not sure when or if Williams would be back on the field this season. He said the only treatment is to keep the neck protected in a brace and wait for the fracture to heal on its own.
That might be several weeks or "might keep him out all season," Swinney said. "I have no idea."
Williams was injured making a 4-yard grab for his team's first touchdown in a 49-10 rout of FCS opponent Wofford.
A 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior, Williams figured to lead a talented yet young group of receivers for Clemson. He had 57 catches for 1,030 yards and six touchdowns a year ago, making the all-Atlantic Coast Conference second team.
Swinney said the team has been cross training several wide receivers like senior Charone Peake and freshman Trevion Thompson and Deon Cain at Williams' spot. But Swinney said Clemson loses an experienced, savvy player for as long as Williams is on the sidelines.
"You can replace talent for talent," Swinney said. "But experience is hard to replace."
Clemson does not have any other choice with Williams' injury.
The Tigers completed 30 passes to 12 different receivers in the Wofford win. Ray-Ray McCloud, a freshman who enrolled in January, was the top pass catcher in the game with eight receptions for 80 yards. Sophomore Artavis Scott caught six passes for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Cain had three receptions while four other receivers, including Peake, had two.
Swinney was disappointed Williams will not be on the field for a while. He said it was more important that Williams heal completely and get a chance to play football somewhere down the road. Williams is considered one of the NFL's top receiving prospects next spring should he give up his senior season.
"He'll have an opportunity to play again," Swinney said. "Whenever that is."