Hard-luck Ingram tears his ACL

Posted by ESPN.com's Chris Low

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- If Florida's going to win the SEC championship this season, the Gators will have to do so without one of their most effective offensive playmakers.

I've gotten confirmation from sources at Florida that the MRI results on senior tight end Cornelius Ingram's knee did indeed reveal a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Doctors will allow the swelling to go down and perform surgery on Ingram sometime next week.

Ingram earlier on Thursday confirmed to The Sporting News that he tore his ACL. Florida coach Urban Meyer will address the situation later Thursday after practice, and I'll have reaction from Meyer and some of the Gators' players.

It's a bad break for the Gators and a terrible break for Ingram, who nearly turned pro last season. He's already redshirted, but Florida could petition the NCAA for a sixth year if Ingram chooses to pursue that route.

Ingram, who caught seven touchdown passes last season, suffered the injury on Tuesday in a 7-on-7 drill and actually walked off the field after injuring his knee.

With Ingram sidelined, that means sophomore Aaron Hernandez's role at tight end just got a lot bigger. He's about 10 pounds heavier than Ingram (255) and is a good athlete, but not quite in Ingram's class. The Gators were putting in a package this season to be able to use both tight ends at the same time.

Fifth-year senior Tate Casey will also see his role grow after taking a medical hardship last season. He was the Gators' starting tight end as a true freshman in 2004, and four of his eight catches went for touchdowns.