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September 5, 2008South Carolina lost its best offensive weapon about midway through the first half of Thursday night's 24-17 loss to Vanderbilt when wide receiver Kenny McKinley left the contest for good with a pulled right hamstring.
The senior from Mableton, Ga., had three receptions for 23 yards and a touchdown before he was forced to leave the nationally televised contest. His availability for next Saturday's SEC showdown with Georgia at Williams-Brice Stadium is unknown.
"Kenny pulled a hamstring sometime in the first quarter," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "So he came out and said he couldn't go. It hurt us a little bit, but we've got guys who can play."
The only other injuries reported by USC following the game were a right knee injury sustained by Moe Brown and a left thigh bruise by Mike Davis.
Before he departed, McKinley set the school record for consecutive games with at least one catch at 35 and grabbed his 16th career touchdown pass in the first quarter on a 19-yard pass from Chris Smelley. With one more TD reception McKinley will match Sterling Sharpe and Zola Davis with 17 career scores.
"I pulled my hamstring on a play and that's all I can really say," McKinley say. "I don't really know too much right now. I know I couldn't run any more and I couldn't finish the game out.
"When it happened, I tried to go another play but I could hardly run back to the huddle. So I called Matt (Clements) to come replace me. I tried to move on the sidelines but I couldn't hardly put my leg up or move at all."
McKinley vowed to rehabilitate the injury and return to the lineup against Georgia.
"We'll take it from here and get treatment and hopefully I'll be able to play next week," McKinley said. "It's a hamstring injury, so there's no telling how long I'll be out. Hopefully, I'll work hard and try to get back next week."
NO EXCUSES BY SPURRIER
This past week, several Gamecock players said the team wasn't focused on the task at hand in last year's loss to Vanderbilt at Williams-Brice Stadium and took the Commodores for granted. Spurrier said after Thursday's contest that those comments were "irritating" and contended both losses to the Commodores were "just as stunning."
"It sort of irritated me that our players tried to say that we weren't ready (last year)," Spurrier said. "We were ready to play. We just got our butts kicked. I'm sure those Vanderbilt players are wondering what kind of excuse the South Carolina guys have now. We don't have any excuses. They just beat us."
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