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Florida will be without Nixon, Patchan for opener

- Associated Press - Thursday, August 26, 2010

GAINESVILLE, FLA. (AP) - No. 4 Florida will be without starting left tackle Xavier Nixon and backup Matt Patchan for its opener.

Coach Urban Meyer ruled out both players Thursday, saying he's unsure when they will return.

Nixon had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday. Patchan is recovering from a broken right wrist. He had a pin inserted in his wrist, which has been in a cast since early this month.

It's unclear how Florida will shuffle its line to fill the void against Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 4. Right tackle Marcus Gilbert moved to the left side earlier this week, and center Mike Pouncey switched to right tackle. But Meyer said he expects Pouncey to remain at center.

"First game, I want the ball to hit the quarterback in the hands and not look like the Bad News Bears out there," Meyer said. "I'm not sure what it is right now, but I don't think we're going to move Mike. I hope not."

Tight end Jordan Reed, linebacker Brandon Hicks and receiver Carl Moore also missed practice Thursday. Reed has a bruised right knee, Hicks has a sprained thumb and Moore had an emergency root canal.

Meyer said Reed probably will miss the opener.

Nixon and Patchan had been battling for the starting spot. Nixon started the final five games last season at left tackle before spraining an ankle and then hurting his knee. Patchan hasn't been able to stay healthy in three seasons, missing time because of a gunshot wound, a torn pectoral muscle and a knee injury that resulted from an on-campus scooter accident.

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