Clowney clears the air

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH/AP) -- Injured South Carolina All-American Jadeveon Clowney says he's fully committed to the 14th-ranked Gamecocks and does not spend time considering his pro prospects

Clowney did not practice again on Tuesday due to a strained muscle near his rib cage. After Tuesday's practice he said he's receiving treatment several times a day in hopes of getting back on the field as soon as possible, maybe playing against Arkansas on Saturday.

His last-minute choice to remove himself from Saturday's game against Kentucky raised questions about whether Clowney was protecting his status as the possible top pick in next year's NFL draft. Clowney says he's not worried about anything beyond South Carolina's season.

"I'm out here with my team every day, practicing with my team," said Clowney. "People can say what they want to say. They're not here. They're not in the locker room or around the coaching staff with us."

Clowney indicated he originally suffered the injury during the UCF game, and aggravated it last Wednesday during practice. He sat out Thursday's drills and was initially expected to be ready to play against Kentucky before removing himself from the lineup shortly before the game.

"It was a miscommunication between me and the coaches and the trainer," said Clowney. "I should have handled it different."

That was a common theme coming from the Gamecock camp on Tuesday. Steve Spurrier was initially frustrated by Clowney's absence immediately after Saturday's game, but backtracked at his weekly news conference Tuesday, saying he now felt differently because he had all the proper medical information about Clowney.

"We didn't handle it well, I think, the whole group of us," said Spurrier. "Let me say this about Jadeveon. If he never plays another snap here, we all should be thankful and appreciative that he came to South Carolina."

Clowney confirmed he is still committed to the team, but remains questionable for the Arkansas game and does not know when he'll return.

"I enjoy playing. I come out here every day since I've been here. You all should know that by now." said Clowney. "I just take it one day at a time. I'm in college. I'm playing for this university right now. I'm going to do that and get ready for the future. I'm not looking past this week. We've got Arkansas coming up. I'm here to play for my team and my university."

Clowney also shot down comments from some analysts who have suggested he is saving his body for the NFL rather than playing with his teammates.

"I haven't played my last game yet," noted Clowney. "I will be back on the field. I just don't know how long it will take to get back but I'm going to be back playing."