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Miami lineman Zion Nelson appears to be inactive for Saturday's season opener

Nick Schultz09/03/22
Article written by:On3 imageNick Schultz


(Wade/Icon Sportswire)

It appears Zion Nelson might not be available for Miami’s season opener on Saturday. Prior to the game, he was sitting in a different section from the rest of the team.

Nelson was seen alongside players who likely aren’t going to play, according to The Athletic’s Manny Navarro. He underwent a cleanup surgery earlier in the offseason, and Hurricanes coach Mario Cristobal said he wasn’t sure if Nelson would be available for the Week 1 game against Bethune-Cookman.

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Last year, Nelson was an honorable mention All-ACC selection and was a big part of the Miami offensive line. He’s expected to play another key role this year in Cristobal’s first year at the helm and his name is already coming up in NFL Draft circles.

Mario Cristobal: I ‘can’t guarantee’ Zion Nelson will play in Week 1

Cristobal shared his latest update on Nelson Aug. 25, saying his star lineman was progressing well after his surgery. Still, he remained a question mark for the season opener.

“He’s getting closer, can’t guarantee he’s going to be ready for game one,” Cristobal said. “We’ll know more by Tuesday or Wednesday, probably Wednesday. You know if you had a practice with him today, and run a full practice, probably feel good about that. If you had to play a game today it’s pretty close, and we hedge on the side of safety, which is really important, and he knows that.”

Nelson is a valuable piece to the Hurricanes offensive line, showing improvement every single year for Miami and had a historic season for the ages last season. According to Pro Football Focus, Nelson finished last season with the highest pass-blocking grade in recent school history grading out at 85.3, the second-highest grade ever for a Hurricane only behind former first-round pick Ereck Flowers in 2014.

On3’s Kaiden Smith contributed to this report.