Veteran Vols defender sidelined by knee injury for the Florida game

Tennessee senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. is expected to miss the 23rd-ranked Vols' SEC opener Saturday at No. 24 Florida with a knee injury that could require season-ending surgery, sources told GoVols247 on Friday.

As GoVols247's Grant Ramey reported Friday evening, Kelly has been bothered by a nagging knee injury since last season, and he could decide to undergo season-ending surgery to address the issue. If he undergoes surgery, he likely would have the option of taking a medical redshirt this season and returning next year as a fifth-year senior.

A team spokesman declined to comment Friday night.

Kelly, who's the son of former Tennessee standout Todd Kelly Sr., started multiple games in each of his first three seasons at Tennessee, including 11 games last season. He came off the bench to play in each of the Vols' first two games this season, with sophomore Nigel Warriorand junior Micah Abernathy serving as Tennessee's starting safeties.

A former top-100 prospect from nearby Webb School of Knoxville, Kelly leads all current Vols with eight career interceptions and intercepted at least two passes in each of his first three seasons at Tennessee. He also recorded a team-high 71 tackles last year.

The Vols (2-0) are scheduled to take on Florida (0-1) at 3:30 p.m. Eastern time Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla. The game will be televised nationally by CBS.

GoVols247's Grant Ramey contributed to this report

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