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The Commercial Appeal (Memphis, Tennessee)
KNOXVILLE — A helmet, not a teammate, caused defensive tackle Shy Tuttle's injury. That's the story, Tennessee coach Butch Jones said Monday.
Tuttle and center Jashon Robertson missed Saturday's game against Massachusetts with undisclosed injuries.
GoVols247, citing sources, reported on Sunday that Tuttle has an orbital bone injury, and Robertson was out with concussion-like symptoms.
Asked Monday whether Tuttle's injury was caused by a teammate, Jones said it wasn't. He then launched into a two-minute lecture of the media.
"Football is an emotional game. It is a competitive game," Jones said. "The injury was caused not by a teammate. He landed on a helmet, and that's the truth. And I think we have to understand, what do we want out of our media? This place, with the drama."
"I love our kids, and I'm going to protect our players, and I'm going to protect our program," Jones added. "And sometimes the negativity is overwhelming. If everyone is Vol fans, how do we let our opponents use this in the recruiting process with fake news?"
Jones said he expects both players to return for the Vols' game against No. 8 Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET Saturday, CBS).
"We fully anticipate them to being ready to go," Jones said on Monday. "We anticipate just about everyone ready to go."
Earlier in the news conference, Jones was asked about wide receiver Jauan Jennings not being on the sideline for the UMass game. Jennings suffered a season-ending wrist injury in the first game of the season.
"You guys look for everything," Jones said. "I think you're running a reality TV show that runs off of drama."
Jones said Jennings is rehabbing his injury in the right manner.
"Jauan is an extremely competitive young man," Jones added, "and it absolutely bothers him being on the sideline, because he feels he can't help the football team."
Tuttle sat out the season opener with a leg injury before playing in the next two games. He played extensively in Week 3 against Florida, making three tackles.
Against UMass, Coleman Thomas started in place of Robertson, one of UT's top linemen. Robertson, who has made 38 career starts, was on the sideline in street clothes on Saturday.
Robertson's presence was missed against the Minutemen. The Vols rushed for a season-low 135 yards on a season-high 39 carries.
"Not having Jashon last week is going to hurt us, when you lose somebody like that," right tackle Brett Kendrick said. "But Coleman, he's played a lot of football for us and started a lot of games. ... It's just kind of a next-man-up mentality."
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