All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is working hard so he can play this week against Arkansas, South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said Tuesday.
Spurrier said he will know later in the week if Clowney has recovered enough from his injury to play on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Clowney declared that he remains committed to the Gamecocks and that he is not trying avoid action to protect his NFL Draft prospects.
"Jadeveon has a muscle strain near his rib area that caused him to miss the game last week against Kentucky. He was in pain," Spurrier said Tuesday. "It was diagnosed later, and obviously we all handled it poorly, all of us did."
Clowney (6-foot-6, 274 pounds) surprised his coaches last Saturday when, shortly before kickoff of the game against Kentucky, he said he was in too much pain to play. There was speculation that Clowney was finished for the season to make sure he doesn't hurt his potential No. 1 pick status in next year's NFL Draft, but Clowney disputed that talk.
"Regardless of what people say, I've been behind my team my whole life," he said. "I dedicate myself to this team and this university, that's why I chose to come here."
He blamed the confusion over his unavailability for last week's game on a miscommunication.
"I should have handled it differently instead of just telling (Spurrier) like that, you know," Clowney said.
Spurrier said if Clowney doesn't play another down for the 14th-ranked Gamecocks, the junior still made a tremendous impact on the program.
"We've won 26 games, two 11-2 years, the greatest seasons we've had in 120 years. So none of us need to be upset at Jadeveon. None of us," Spurrier said.
Spurrier is confident the junior is committed to finishing the season on the field.
"I'm all for Jadeveon and his future," Spurier said. "When he is ready to play we're going to put him out there. He has been coming to treatment, I think, twice a day and told me he is doing everything he can to try to get ready to play."