Jamal Lewis, the leading rusher for No. 4 Tennessee, will miss the rest of the regular season after tearing a knee ligament, coach Phillip Fulmer said Monday.
"There's a chance he'll be back for a bowl game or a championship game, but that's not likely. It's really unfortunate for Jamal," Fulmer said after practice.
Lewis injured his right knee in Saturday's 17-9 victory over Auburn. An examination Monday revealed a torn lateral collateral ligament, and Lewis will have surgery Tuesday.
The Volunteers play No. 7 Georgia on Saturday in Athens. Lewis had the biggest day of his career last season against the Bulldogs, gaining 232 yards in 22 carries in the Volunteers' 38-13 victory.
The 6-foot, 220-pound sophomore has been the mainstay of Tennessee's offense this season, running for 497 yards on 73 carries through four games.
His 124.4 yard-per-game advantage is second in the Southeastern Conference behind LSU's Kevin Faulk and the biggest reason the Volunteers lead the league in rushing at 225.5 yards a game.
has been a great player for us and will be a great player for us again, hopeflly in the not-too-distant future," Fulmer said, adding Lewis already has played too much this year to be redshirted.
Tennessee will go to a pair of sophomores to replace Jamal Lewis. (AP)
Lewis has been especially important because the Vols' passing game has struggled. Quarterback Tee Martin is seventh in the league in efficiency rating, having completed 35 of 79 passes for 509 yards, with eight touchdowns and two interceptions.
Lewis had a 67-yard touchdown run on Tennessee's first play from scrimmage against Auburn. He hurt his knee in the second half, left for treatment on the sideline, and returned for one play. He gained 21 yards but pulled up at the end of the run and hobbled off.
He did not return and finished the game with 140 yards on 18 carries.
Two sophomores, Travis Henry and Travis Stephens, are expected to fill in for Lewis. Henry has run eight times for 75 yards and Stephens has carried the ball nine times for 62 yards this year.
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