TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 24: Eddie Lacy #42 of the Alabama Crimson Tide breaks a tackle by Zach Stadther #61 of the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 24, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
This may be many things, but encouraging is not one of them. Per Izzy Gould:
Alabama running back Eddie Lacy had a noticeable limp Wednesday afternoon during the Crimson Tide's final media viewing of the week.
The Crimson Tide sophomore has been coping with a foot injury since a 38-14 win over Arkansas on Sept. 24.
Lacy was limited again during the media viewing period, but wore a white jersey indicating he is clear for practice contact.
Fortunately the limping occurred yesterday during practice and not today, thus giving Lacy a bit more time to get himself ready for this Saturday night. Having said that, though, Lacy has been fighting through this for over a month now, and given the easily-aggravated nature of this injury, it's unfortunately possible that he could have simply re-aggravated the injury in recent days. The hope was that he could use the limited role in recent weeks and the bye week as a means of getting back to full strength, but it seems relatively clear that is not the case with gameday quickly approaching.
Now, to be absolutely certain, I don't think anyone legitimately believes Lacy will not play this weekend. As Gould mentioned above, despite the limitations, he has been cleared for contact in practice throughout the week, and a pre-game injection will help him on Saturday night. Even so, though, there remains legitimate questions about just how effective he will be, and if he's legitimately slowed on Saturday night that will be a major loss for Alabama. While Jalston Fowler has looked solid in mop-up duty, he's not exactly the guy we want shouldering much of the load against LSU, but if Lacy struggles on Saturday night then Fowler may see some carries in his place.
And for all of those who have talked about Trent Richardson using this game as a Heisman breakout moment, with the lingering injury to Lacy it looks like Richardson will get the carries necessary to give him that opportunity. We try to split carries as best as possible between the backs, but Richardson may very well have to be the workhorse against the Bayou Bengals.
Either way, folks, for better or for worse, only 48 hours left.