KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee defensive end Jacques Smith has a fractured right thumb that puts his status for the start of the season in jeopardy.
Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Wednesday night that Smith had surgery earlier in the day and probably would miss four to six weeks, though he didn't rule out the possibility that the senior could be ready for the Aug. 31 season opener against Austin Peay.
Smith made six starts and had 33 tackles — seven for losses — and two sacks last season. Jones said Smith hurt the thumb late in practice Tuesday night.
Jones also said freshman defensive end Corey Vereen is undergoing an MRI on his knee. Vereen, an early enrollee, had four sacks in the spring game.