Miami Hurricanes DT Courtel Jenkins has knee surgery; LB Darrion Owens, DT Anthony Moten could return vs. FAU

The Hurricanes’ banged-up defense will be without defensive tackle Courtel Jenkins for a few weeks, but the team anticipates he will return for ACC play.

Courtel Jenkins (Getty Images)

Courtel Jenkins (Getty Images)

Jenkins, a junior, had minor surgery Wednesday to fix a torn meniscus in his right knee, a source told The Post. It is possible he could return for UM’s Oct. 1 game at Georgia Tech, the first conference game of the season.

[Report: Dismissed DE heading to Hampton]

Miami (1-0) faces Florida Atlantic (1-0) on Saturday (6 p.m., and hits the road to play Appalachian State next week. The Hurricanes have a bye week before their conference opener in Atlanta.

In a press release hours after this report, UM said Jenkins has a “lower extremity injury” and will not play this week. The release also said Jenkins was under the care of Dr. Lee Kaplan, who is the team’s surgeon.

Though Jenkins’ injury and recovery may be unique, his situation recalls that of former UM left tackle Ereck Flowers, who had minor knee surgery in 2014 and missed one game. Flowers, now with the New York Giants, tore a meniscus that Oct. 23 at Virginia Tech. He had surgery four days later and sat out against North Carolina. After a bye week, Flowers returned Nov. 15 against Florida State.

Jenkins’ injury occurred in the third quarter of Miami’s 70-3 win over Florida A&M last Saturday. He had three tackles — all for losses — and played 24 snaps behind starter Kendrick Norton. Jenkins (6-2, 320), a Jersey City, N.J. native, matched his tackles-for-loss total from 2015, when he started seven of 12 games.

Fortunately for the Hurricanes, redshirt sophomore Gerald Willis will make his Miami debut. Willis, a former blue-chip recruit, sat out last season after transferring from Florida and was suspended for the season-opener for a violation of team rules. A source said another defensive tackle, junior Anthony Moten, is expected to play. Moten missed the FAMU game with a dislocated right shoulder, but practiced this week.

In other positive news for Miami, junior Darrion Owens practiced as the second-string Will linebacker behind freshman Michael Pinckney. Though he is still recovering from the major knee injury he sustained a year ago, there is a good chance Owens will return to action on Saturday. Owens tore the ACL and menisci on either side of his right knee last Sept. 11 at FAU.

“I think it’ll feel crazy for him, to go and play that same team,” senior safety Jamal Carter said. “I think he’s going to have a lot of flashbacks. He’ll be fine.”

Whatever Owens can provide will greatly help a thin group of linebackers. In addition to former starter Jermaine Grace and backup Juwon Young — both of whom were dismissed — and backup Marques Gayot, who wasn’t medically cleared to play after last season’s neck injury, Miami is without key backup Jamie Gordinier, who sustained a season-ending ACL tear last week.

True freshman starters Shaq Quarterman (47 of 75 defensive snaps), Michael Pinckney (48) and Zach McCloud (30), along with sophomore Charles Perry (31) and redshirt sophomore Mike Smith (30) saw extensive action against FAMU. Redshirt sophomore Terry McCray (17) got on the field late. Gordinier was in for five plays.

Defensive coordinator and linebackers coach Manny Diaz, who has a more veteran group of defensive backs, used a dime (six defensive backs) package 23 percent of the time against FAMU. He is training sophomore safety Jaquan Johnson to play a linebacker-safety role.

“It gives us the flexibility to adapt to what teams are doing,” Diaz said.

That will help combat FAU, which demands a fresh group of defenders. Diaz, who compares his style of defense to a full-court press in basketball, substitutes players regularly.

“Fast-tempo offenses try to zap your effort,” Diaz said. “They try to zap your energy, they try to zap your toughness with their tempo to try to get you tired out. That will be a major battle this week, because they will probably be one of the fastest teams we play all year.”



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