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Texas is reasonably healthy heading in to bye week

The coming days will provide the team’s only respite before nine straight conference games.

NCAA Football: Texas at California John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

Short seven starters at times during the game against the UTEP Miners, the Texas Longhorns are relatively close to full health heading into the season’s only bye week before heading to Stillwater to face off against the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

In fact, some of the best news emerging from the loss to the California Golden Bears on Saturday was the team avoiding any significant, long-term injuries during the game.

Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele suffered a chest injury during the game that caused him to leave for several series, but he was able to return and finish the game. On Monday, head coach Charlie Strong said that he’s fine and denied speculation that he’d suffered a head injury after briefly having his helmet taken away from him.

Another player who briefly left the game was sophomore linebacker Malik Jefferson. The preseason Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year “probably” suffered a stinger, according to Strong, but he too returned to the game.

One starter who did not was sophomore cornerback Davante Davis, who banged his head. He’s expected to be healthy for open the Big 12 conference season on October 1.

The biggest lingering injury of note is the knee injury sustained by junior right tackle Tristan Nickelson against Notre Dame when an opposing player rolled up on him. After missing the last two games, the bye week should provide enough time to return to full health.

The same for the rest of the offensive line, which now features sophomore left guard Patrick Vahe dealing with a left wrist injury that required a cast. He started against Cal and did not seem to be impacted by playing with the cast.

Junior wide receiver Lorenzo Joe played in his second game against the Golden Bears after missing most of fall camp and the season opener due to a strained hamstring.

The one player without any apparent timetable for a return is sophomore running back Kirk Johnson, who had his knee scoped last week as a result of meniscus issues.