GAINESVILLE — Florida quarterback Tim Tebow was out of the hospital and back home Sunday, about 24 hours after sustaining a concussion during the team’s 41-7 victory at Kentucky.
Tebow was released from the University Medical Center in Lexington, Ky., Sunday morning. He was held for precautionary reasons. Coach Urban Meyer spent the night in hospital with Tebow.
“Tim is doing fine this morning,” Meyer said. “His CT scans came back and indicated that Tim suffered a concussion. Our medical and athletic training staff will continue to monitor him to determine how much rest and recovery he needs. We will have additional information and updates this week.”
Tebow was expected back in Florida later Sunday.
The top-ranked Gators (4-0) are off next week, then play at LSU on Oct. 10. It might be several days, maybe even longer, before Tebow’s status becomes clearer for what could be the toughest game on the defending national champions’ schedule.
It would be even tougher without Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and the heart and soul of the Gators.
But his release surely was welcome news for Florida fans who watched Tebow lay motionless on the field at Commonwealth Stadium.
“Everyone is concerned about Tim, and our thoughts and our prayers are with him and his family,” said associate head coach and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who filled in Meyer’s television show Sunday.
The Gators were leading 31-7 in the third quarter and were driving deep in Kentucky territory when defensive end Taylor Wyndham came unblocked off the right end and sacked Tebow. As Tebow fell backward, his helmet struck teammate Marcus Gilbert’s leg, violently bending his neck forward.
Teammates and trainers rushed to Tebow’s side, but several minutes passed before the quarterback sat up with help and then slowly made his way off the field. Florida’s medical staff attended to him on the bench, and his parents came down from the stands to join him.
He started vomiting — a common symptom of concussions — and was carted off the field. About a dozen Gators fans showed up at the hospital after the game, standing outside in the rain and wishing the best for Tebow.
The injury ended what had been another impressive performance from the senior. He ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns, and threw for 103 yards and a score — numbers that seemed unimportant the second he hit the turf.
Oddly, his day began with questions about his health.
Tebow was one of several Gators who took a separate plane to Lexington because of respiratory and congestion issues, leading to speculation he wouldn’t play.
If Tebow wasn’t feeling well, it didn’t show. He walked off the field following pregame warmups trading head slaps with teammate Brandon Spikes and nearly sprinted into the huddle on Florida’s first possession.
The Gators scored 31 points in the first quarter and had the game in hand when Tebow got hit in the third quarter.
Meyer probably will face questions about why he still had his superstar on the field in a lopsided game, especially considering Tebow had missed two days of practice because of a respiratory illness.
But the Gators sputtered in the second quarter against Kentucky and struggled in the passing game last week against Tennessee.
And pulling Tebow is always tough because he wants to play every down. Typically, the bruising 245-pound quarterback jumps to his feet after big hits — some even harder than Wyndham’s sack.
“He’s a tough nut,” Meyer said after the game. “We think he’s going to be fine.”
Added linebacker Brandon Spikes: “I’m pretty sure he’s going to get himself together.”