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Safety Devon Matthews released from Iowa City hospital, outlook positive

Indiana head coach Tom Allen expressed concerns about the well-being of starting safety Devon Matthews on Saturday after he left the game with an injury that appeared to impact his mobility, at least momentarily.

Matthews was injured on a tackle where his helmet made leading impact with a receiver, and he struggled to move briefly on the field before walking off after a minute or two.  The Jacksonville, Fla. native stayed behind in Iowa City for further evaluation at a local hospital, and IU sent his mother to be with him.

On Monday Allen indicated that the senior defensive back has now been released from the hospital.

“They did keep him, but he’s been released,” Allen said on Monday.  “Been able to get his mom up there with him. so they’re on their way back actually this morning. so got a lot of good news from that.”

In a Twitter post, Matthews’ mother Monique praised the level of care her son received over the weekend.

“Indiana University does not play,” she wrote.  “They make sure you are able to get to your son and they take good care of them truly blessed.”

While Matthews was on his way back to Bloomington on Monday, Allen did not have a specific injury diagnosis, nor any clear indication on whether Matthews might return this season.

“It’s just an upper body injury, but I don’t know the short term as far as return to play status yet,” Allen said.  “But I do know we’ve got a lot of good test results back, which was very, very positive. and I’ve spoken to him already several different times and messaging him and his mom, so encouraged by his progress.”

Any time without Matthews will create a serious void in the IU secondary. Making his 15th start on Saturday, Matthews is coming off a 2020 season that saw him achieve third-team All-Big Ten honors.  He has posted 77 tackles, an interception and eight passes broken up over the past two seasons.

Indiana lost safety and current Denver Bronco Jamar Johnson during the offseason, meaning Matthews was to be the veteran anchor on the back-end of the defense.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Sanguinetti saw most of the snaps after Matthews left the game, and Allen was pleased with how his backup performed in the most extensive action of his career.

“He (Sanguinetti) ended up playing 50 snaps. and that wasn’t what he was expecting to play. but I thought he was really solid. I thought he did a really good job,” Allen said.  “I want to continue for him to develop and communicate at a higher level, but he made some plays for sure.”

If Matthews continues to be out Indiana has several additional options including Ole Miss transfer Jonathan Haynes along with program veterans Bryant Fitzgerald, Noah Pierre and Bryson Bonds.

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