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Alabama WR Jaylen Waddle suffers season-ending ankle injury on opening kickoff vs. Tennessee

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Alabama wide receiver Jaylen Waddle was taken directly to the locker room after he suffered a right ankle injury while returning the opening kickoff in Saturday’s game vs. Tennessee.

Once the game got to halftime, Alabama head coach Nick Saban told CBS that the injury will keep Waddle out for the rest of the season.

Waddle was running toward the sideline when his right foot got trapped as he was being tackled. His right ankle then turned awkwardly.

Waddle crawled to the Alabama sideline after the injury and couldn’t put any weight on his right leg after the play. He was helped toward the locker room by two staffers and then was shown on CBS sitting up on the back of a cart. Waddle was in significant pain and was smacking the cart in frustration.

The CBS broadcast later showed Waddle being loaded into an ambulance to presumably go to a nearby hospital. His right ankle appeared to be in a cast.

Waddle, an All-American as a returner in 2019, is one of the most dynamic playmakers in college football. The wide receiver has 25 catches for 557 yards and four TDs this season as Alabama’s passing offense has been the best in the country. Waddle and DeVonta Smith form the best combination of receivers in college football.

Waddle, a junior, is heralded as a top NFL draft prospect. It’s fair to wonder if he has played his last game in an Alabama uniform and if Alabama’s offense will slow down at all without him.

WR John Metchie likely slots into Waddle’s place in the starting lineup. Metchie has been great as Alabama’s third receiver in 2020; he entered Saturday’s game with 14 catches for 348 yards and three touchdowns. But no Alabama wide receiver outside Metchie, Waddle or Smith had caught a pass until the first half of Saturday’s game when Slade Bolden had his first catches of the year.

TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 09: Jaylen Waddle #17 of the Alabama Crimson Tide warms up prior to the game against the LSU Tigers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 9, 2019 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Jaylen Waddle is averaging over 22 yards a catch in 2020. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

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