Skalski missed last week’s game against Syracuse, but Swinney said the team expected the injury to be minor. Subsequent MRIs on Monday revealed more significant damage, and Swinney said his senior would need surgery.
“That’s a pretty big loss for us,” said Swinney. “He’s going to miss a few games, unfortunately. We have to see how things go and how quickly to respond, but he’s a great football player. … He’s really the heart and soul of our defense.”
Skalski is one of a number of early Clemson players to have missed this year. Defensive end Justin Foster been out all year, and Xavier thomas returned two weeks ago but is slowly being reintroduced to action.
Swinney said cornerback Derion Kendrick (knee), who played against Syracuse, “hurts” but will likely return this week.
“He’s growing very well,” said Swinney.
In midfield, Skalski’s role will fall to the second tier Jake Venables, son of Clemson’s defense coordinator, Brent Venables.
The younger Venables had four tackles in an early role against Syracuse last week, and he has amassed 3.5 tackles for this season’s defeats.
“He did a great job last week and really did well for us,” said Swinney. “It is a game, especially, that they are a formational and schematic challenge in what they are doing. A lot of formations and changes that you have to process, and I’m very grateful we have such a veteran as Jake.”
Swinney also said outside midfielder Mike Jones was “day to day” with pain, but he didn’t say whether Jones would be out this week.
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