Alabama wideout and return specialist Jaylen Waddle is out for the season after suffering what coach Nick Saban called a combination of a high-ankle sprain and a fracture during the opening kickoff of Saturday's 48-17 win over host Tennessee in Knoxville.
Saban said the injury is similar to the one former Alabama running back Kenyan Drake suffered in 2014, which caused him to miss most of that season.
"He's out for the year," Saban said of Waddle. "And it's a shame because the guy's a great player. It's exciting for college football to see a guy play like that. I hate it that he gets hurt on a play like that. You're not supposed to bring a ball out when you're that deep in the end zone. But he's a great player, so you've got to let him use his judgment."
Waddle, an ESPN preseason All-America selection, limped off the field while favoring his right ankle and was taken to the locker room on a cart.
According to Saban, Waddle was being flown back to Alabama and will go directly to a hospital in Birmingham to have surgery.
The junior from Houston caught 25 passes for 557 yards and four touchdowns through four games this season. He is No. 12 on Mel Kiper's Big Board of NFL draft prospects.
With Waddle sidelined, Alabama turned to Slade Bolden as the team's third receiver.
Bolden, who hadn't caught a pass this season, had receptions on each of Alabama's first two drives against Tennessee. He finished the game with six catches for 94 yards.