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Nick Saban’s team remains arguably the most talented in college football but the 2017 season has not been kind to the depth on the defensive side of the ball for the Alabama Crimson Tide. The SEC favorites have been without a bevy of top-flight linebackers in recent days and, even with some hope for the future at that particular position, the hits just keep coming.

On Friday afternoon, Charlie Potter of BamaOnline reported that freshman defensive end LaBryan Ray suffered a broken bone in his foot and, within hours, the former five-star recruit went under the knife for surgery that will place him on the shelf for an extended period of time. Ray has accumulated five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a sack in six games of action this season and, while this is not a devastating blow in and of itself, the loss represents yet another hole for Saban’s coaching staff to attempt to fill on an already depleted defense.

Ray’s absence should be monitored in the coming days and, fortunately for Alabama fans, this particular program is on the short list of those built to withstood the loss of a top-20 recruit nationally. In addition, the Crimson Tide are granted a reprieve to work some things out this week, as Alabama plays host to Mercer before facing the annual challenge that is the Iron Bowl next week.

Alabama’s defense has reportedly suffered yet another big injury Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Rowland is a lifelong Atlanta sports fan that also grew up in a Michigan Wolverines household. He previously worked with FanSided, SB Nation and UPROXX sports and covers college football for FanBuzz.
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