Colombia, SC — After ending an injury-strewn career in Tennessee, LaTrell Bumphus had a thought when he saw the redshirt senior quarterback Hendon hooker Laying on the turf during the fourth quarter at Williams-Brice Stadium Saturday night.

“I think the first thing that went through my mind was really just to pray,” Bumphus said after No. 5 Tennessee’s 63-38 loss to South Carolina. “(As) a guy who’s been through a lot of injuries, I know it can be really tough on you mentally and physically.

“I think whatever’s going on we just have to do a good job of getting back into the rehab situations and continuing to connect and be together.”

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel didn’t have an update on Hooker after the game, just said Hooker would be rated when the Vols got back to Knoxville.

Hendon Hooker threw for 274 yards, 3 TDs before injury

Hooker ran left on the first drop at 11:36, held the football in an options play, but collapsed in pain and grabbed his left leg while he was on the ground.

“Man, that was probably one of the worst things I’ve seen out there,” said Tennessee offensive lineman Jerome Carvin said afterwards. “All I know is how hard he works. The hardest working guy I’ve ever seen, ever played with.

“It’s so unfortunate to happen to a guy like that. But if I know anything, I know he’ll surely recover from it. He is a warrior. I know he will.”

Hooker left the field under his own power, moving slowly. He completed 25 of 42 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 25 yards five times before leaving the game.

Hooker threw in a three-yard touchdown pass Cedric Tillman early in the second quarter and a 7-yard touchdown Brother McCoy with 12 seconds left in the first half. He had a 41-yard touchdown too Princeton Fant in the third quarter.

He entered Saturday night as a Hesiman Trophy contender, throwing for 2,888 yards and 24 touchdowns with just two interceptions while completing 71.1 percent of his passes in Tennessee’s first 10 games of the season.

He took over for Joe Milton against Pittsburgh in Week 2 of last season when Milton left the game with an injury. Hooker threw for 2,945 yards, 31 touchdowns and three interceptions in his breakout year.

Next up: Vols at Vanderbilt, 7:30 p.m. ET, Saturday, SEC Network

“We’re definitely all concerned,” Fant said of Hooker. “This is our brother. This is our quarterback we believe in on this offense. He is in our prayers tonight. We pray for him.”

Milton threw for 105 yards and a touchdown last week and played late in Tennessee’s 66-24 win over Missouri. He finished the game in South Carolina for 108 yards and a touchdown.

Tennessee finishes the regular season schedule next week with an opener at 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time in Vanderbilt.

“Joe Milton is a great player,” said Fant. “He’s a brother too. Me and Joe, we actually talk all the time. We talk about stuff like this all the time. He gets time to go in and shine.

“We believe in Joe as an insult. And I have a feeling he’s really going to take on that role, whatever happens. Just ready for it. We will go with it.”

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