Rocket Sanders among Gamecocks who won’t be full-go when spring practice starts

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At halftime of the South Carolina men’s basketball game, football coach Shane Beamer grabbed the microphone and introduced USC fans to the 27 newcomers already on campus.

Two of them were hard to miss.

Arkansas transfer tailback Raheim “Rocket” Sanders, the gem of South Carolina’s transfer coup, had his right arm in a sling. Not far away, too, four-star freshman Kam Pringle was rolling around on a scooter, his left leg elevated at a 90-degree angle.

“Yeah, the secret’s out on those guys when they come out there in a scooter and a sling,” Beamer joked. “They’ll be limited. Won’t be able to go probably at the very beginning (of spring practices) — Rocket won’t for sure. Hopefully by the end of spring.”

That news was no surprise to Beamer.

“(We) knew it when we brought him in that that was going to be something,” Beamer said. “They’re attacking it right now to get back healthy and try to be ready for spring practice. They’ll certainly be limited at the start. Hopefully, we’ll be able to get some stuff done by the end of spring.”

Sanders dealt with injuries for most of 2023, playing in just six games. He tweaked his knee in the season-opener and later tore a labrum in his shoulder, which Razorbacks coach Sam Pittman said at the time would require surgery.

Even without Sanders and the hulking 6-foot-7, 338-pound Pringle, Beamer is gushing about his newcomers.

“(I) love them. Love them,” Beamer said. “And I’m not just saying that. They’ve made us better. There’s a maturity about this group — you can tell already. Not that we were immature last year, but it’s a very mature group, it’s a hungry group.”