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Report: Baylor Starting DE Jamal Palmer Tears ACL, Out for the Season

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Baylor's impressive defensive performance against Texas wasn't without cost, as the Bears have suffered their first (and hopefully only) major injury of the season.

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The news Baylor fans didn't want to hear after yesterday's game has come in, and the Bears will be without starting DE Jamal Palmer for the rest of the year after he injured his knee in yesterday's win over Texas.  I don't recall exactly when it happened in the course of the game, but several observers noted that he was favoring one leg before being replaced by redshirt freshmen K.J. Smith for the duration.

It probably doesn't need to be said that we are all extremely sad that Jamal will miss the rest of his junior season and wish him only the best in his recovery.  He's been a major contributor for the Baylor defense each of the last two years and a big part of our improved pass rush and run defense so far in 2014.  Losing him will definitely be a setback for that unit, both in terms of production and depth, if only because not having him means someone else you didn't plan to rely on for that spot has to step in.

In that vein, the most likely option seems to be the aforementioned Smith, his nominal backup, but I wouldn't count out Javonte Magee, who has played both DT and DE this season.  Magee has improved significantly since the beginning of the year and seems tailor-made to play the DE spot in our 3-man front opposite Shawn Oakman.  The only potential problem is that Magee has played on the right side to this point and may not be as familiar on the left.  Should they make that decision to move him out, though, I can't imagine it being a huge impediment.  Either option, Smith or Magee, comes with drawbacks: Smith has only played in five games in his career and may not be ready for a starting role, and moving Magee out to DE potentially impacts your depth on the inside behind/alongside Beau Blackshear.  It may well be that we decide based on situation, since Smith is likely a better pure pass rusher from the outside, while Magee is better in run support.

I should note that we don't have any official confirmation of the injury or how Baylor will deal with it from the school itself.  Were I to guess, I'd say that will most likely come tomorrow during either the morning Big 12 conference call or the Meet the Press event scheduled for 1 PM.  Until we get something more concrete-- and I say that knowing that Palmer himself confirmed the injury-- I'm going to call this a "report" and go from there.