ATLANTA — Alabama’s season-opening victory over Miami on Saturday came with a significant loss. Following the game, Nick Saban announced that outside linebacker Christopher Allen will likely miss the rest of the season with a foot injury.
“Chris Allen’s got a pretty significant foot injury,” Saban said. “They’ll further evaluate, but it looks like he may be lost for the season.”
Allen injured his right foot during a second-half strip-sack of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King in the second quarter. The redshirt senior went into Alabama’s injury tent following the play and later emerged in a boot. He was then carted to the Tide’s locker room before returning to the sidelines on crutches while still wearing the boot.
Allen recorded three tackles, a sack and a forced fumble before leaving the game. Last season, the 6-foot-4, 242-pound defender led the SEC with 13 tackles for a loss to go with six sacks, five quarterback hurries and 41 total stops.
“My boy’s going to be back, man,” Alabama defensive lineman Phidarian Mathis said following the game. “He’ll be good. He’ll be back.”
Sophomore Drew Sanders is the next man up at the Sam linebacker position on Alabama’s depth chart. Saturday, the former Rivals100 recruit tallied six tackles, including two solo stops.
“Drew’s a good player,” Saban said. “We’ve rotated those three guys [Allen, Sanders and Will Anderson Jr.] all through camp and all through the spring as starters. Chris Allen is a fantastic player though, and he’s a really good pass rusher. It’s really a luxury to have him and Will on the edges as outside backers.
“But we have confidence in Drew, and we have a couple other young players who are going to have to [step up]. Dallas Turner and some of the younger players that we have are going to get an opportunity to play at that position as well.”
Starting Mike linebacker Henry To’o To’o also left Saturday’s game after injuring his elbow in the third quarter. However, Saban said the Tennessee transfer should be OK moving forward. To’o To’o visited Alabama’s injury tent and emerged with a brace on his right elbow before joining the team on the bench.
Alabama held out a trio of players Saturday as defensive lineman LaBryan Ray (groin), DeMarcco Hellams (sprained ankle) and offensive lineman Damieon George all dressed out without playing.
“We’re hopeful that we’ll get some guys back,” Saban said. “They dressed today, but they couldn’t play. They weren’t ready to play. Hopefully, they’ll be ready. They actually warmed up, went through pregame warmup, but it was by design that we did not play them today. Hopefully, they’ll be ready for next week.”