Mario Cristobal gives injury updates including Kam Kinchens

Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 9, 2023; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; . Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports /

During his weekly meeting with reporters on Monday, Miami head coach Mario Cristobal provided injury updates for defensive linemen Branson Deen and Akheem Mesidor, offensive lineman Zion Nelson, running back Tre’Vonte Citizen, safety Kamren Kinchens and tight end Elijah Arroyo. Kinchens is slated to return Saturday.

Mario Cristobal discussed the return of Kinchens during his weekly appearance on the Joe Rose Show on WQAM on Monday morning and later in the day with beat reporters. Kinchens’ return will be a big boost to the Miami defense. Kinchens missed the two games after suffering a neck injury versus Texas A&M on September 9.

When asked if Deen and Mesidor will play on Saturday versus Georgia Tech, Mario Cristobal only replied “We’ll see. Hopefully.” Miami has been without defensive starters Deen, Mesidor and Kinchens for the last two games. Starting DL Nyjalik Kelly has missed most of the last two games with an injury.

Arroyo missed the last eight games of the 2022 season after tearing his ACL and has not played yet this season. Miami has received minimal production from their TEs without Arroyo. Starting TE Cam McCormick has two receptions for 28 yards and true freshman Riley Williams has one catch for 18 yards.

"“Real close. We’re real close (on when Arroyo, Citizen or Nelson could return). You’re always hopeful at the beginning of the season. We were maybe wishing a little bit too early back then. But now it’s a reality. Now we’re there. You might be able to see Elijah this weekend. Where TreVonte is not far behind, but we’re there.We feel like we’re going to have a bunch of these guys back and playing and the best part is they’re going to be playing at a level where they can play at a high level. Return to play process here has really done a good job. I mean, they get after it. They do a great job.”"

Gaby Urrutia of Inside the U transcribed the comments from Cristobal above about Arroyo, Citizen and Nelson. Citizen and Nelson missed all of the 2022 season and have not played at all in 2023. Citizen suffered a knee injury during August training camp in 2022. Nelson suffered a setback from July 2022 knee surgery.

"Asked what Arroyo brings to the Miami offense, Cristobal said “He’s an excellent football player, a great leader, speed, power, point of attack. In the passing game protection, he’s excellent. It’s like having an extra tackle. Then he stretches the field. He’s a guy that can do it vertically, he could do it in the flats, could do the intermediate stuff really well.”"

Cristobal also mentioned the matchup problems Arroyo caused with his ability to make contested catches. Arroyo provides quarterback Tyler Van Dyke with an elite athlete who is almost another wide receiver playing TE. In a Miami offense that has been prolific in 2023, Arroyo provides an additional threat.

Miami defense gets big boost with Kinchens return Saturday. dark. Next

Miami should get a chance to play offensive players who have had little to no playing time some snaps versus Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets have one of the worst defenses in the country. Georgia Tech will provide Miami with more of a challenge on defense. The Yellow Jackets are 19th nationally averaging 467.4 yards per game.