Tennessee receiver undergoes surgery on left foot

While Sal Sunseri tries to pick up where former coordinator Justin Wilcox left off defensively, Jim Chaney hopes his offense in Knoxville can be as healthy as possible heading into fall camp in a make or break season for head coach Derek Dooley.

But while star Justin Hunter continues to recover from an ACL tear, the Vols suffered another injury setback at the receiver position as freshman Alton 'Pig' Howard underwent surgery on his left foot on Friday, according to John Adams of the Knoxville News Sentinel.

The injury will keep the speedy Orlando native out of preseason camp, but he should be able to return early in the regular season. And while Howard was expected to be more of an underneath option, his loss will likely throw incoming freshman Drae Bowles into the rotation earlier than the coaching staff may have anticipated.

The injury just adds more drama to a position that has already seen star Da'Rick Rogers leave the team this spring before ultimately deciding to return. But keep an eye on junior-college standout Cordarrelle Patterson, whose addition will help the corps after losing DeAnthony Arnett to Michigan State.

Vols quarterback Tyler Bray is one of the better signal-callers in the nation, but he needs to have healthy weapons around him to be effective. If Hunter is 100 percent and Rogers has his head on straight, Chaney's offense shouldn't have trouble scoring points this fall despite the setback with Howard, who was one of the standout players in the 2012 signing class.

Email dave.miller@nationalfootballpost.com or follow me on Twitter at Miller_Dave

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