Clemson's defensive depth took a hit Thursday night when reserve linebacker and special teams regular Kellen Jones suffered an ACL injury on kick coverage during the third-ranked Tigers' victory over N.C. State.
But, as Dabo Swinney pointed out during his weekly Sunday night press conference, the Tigers have much to be thankful for.
Sophomore defensive tackle Carlos Watkins escaped serious injury Saturday night when he was involved in car accident that took the life of a former high school classmate.
Watkins was a passenger in a car that hydroplaned and left the highway during a downpour and crashed into a power pole near his hometown of Forest City, N.C. Watkins was pinned in the wreckage for nearly two hours, and then spent the night in a local hospital.
Swinney said Watkins may return to school on Monday.
"It's very fortunate that Carlos is OK," Swinney said. "It was a very serious car wreck. There was a fatality, and it's a very tough situation for him."
Swinney said he spoke with Watkins Sunday morning and said "he's OK physically...But he was in the car, compressed in the chest area, for two hours. They kept him last night for observation. Again, he was very, very fortunate."
Swinney called Jones' injury as a "very tough break."
"He's a talented young player who was really coming along," he said.
Because Jones took a redshirt year after transferring from Oklahoma to Clemson, it's not likely that he'll be eligible for a medical redshirt. "We'll look into it," said Swinney. "I just don't know right now."
Jones will likely undergo surgery the week before the Boston College game, perhaps on the same day as wide receiver Charone Peake, who will also have surgery for a torn ACL.
Swinney said sophomore offensive tackle Isaiah Battle will be suspended for the Wake Forest game and will face other disciplinary action after punching an N.C. State player and being ejected from Thursday's game during the fourth quarter.
"What happened was a total embarrassment to this program," Swinney said. "That can't happen. The only thing positive I can say about Isaiah in that situation is that a lot of times when you have an issue with someone who's definitely in the wrong, that person will be defiant or out of control. He wasn't that way. He was immediately remorseful and felt very bad about the situation.
"But you can't take things back. It was a poor, poor decision and a classless act on his part. He'll be disciplined all practice, every practice for the next five days...Hopefully he'll learn and grow from it, and I think he already has. But this is something that certainly will never be tolerated again. He'll not ever make that mistake again, not here at Clemson."
Swinney said that overall, he was pleased with the Tigers' performance against the Wolfpack.
"It was a really hard-fought game on both sides, and I'm proud of our team for being resilient and overcoming some mistakes and finding a way to win," Swinney said. "It's tough to go on the road and win, especially against a team that's playing with a lot of confidence.
"It was a good, good win, and a great game for us to learn and grow from. We made a lot of mistakes, especially offensively, but they're all very correctable. I'm encouraged by the fact that we were still able to win the game."
Swinney said Clemson's 'players of the game' were defensive end Vic Beasley, offensive guard Tyler Shatley and placekicker Chandler Catanzaro.
He said starting right tackle Gifford Timothy, who was pulled from the game early in favor of Shaq Anthony, is being evaluated for a possible concussion. If Timothy can't play against Wake Forest, Swinney said Anthony, a sophomore from Wren High, will start in his place.