Tennessee starting quarterback Justin Worley will miss an indefinite period of time after undergoing surgery on his thumb, Vols coach Butch Jones confirmed on Tuesday.
Worley's injury means true freshman quarterback Josh Dobbs will make his first career start on Saturday at Missouri.
The Vols (4-4, 1-3 SEC) play the 10th-ranked Tigers (7-1, 3-1) on Saturday (TV: ESPN, 7 p.m.) at Faurot Field in Columbia.
Dobbs, a native of Alpharetta, Ga. who signed with the Vols in February, entered in the second half of UT's loss to top-ranked Alabama last Saturday after Worley reaggravated his thumb injury.
Worley, a junior from Rock Hill, S.C., originally injured the thumb when he banged his throwing hand on the helmet of a South Carolina player on Oct. 19. His hand was wrapped against Alabama, but he appeared to reinjure the thumb when he threw an interception in the second quarter.
Worley sent a tweet Monday morning that said, “Everything happens for a reason.” It was later deleted.
The Sports Animal radio host Jimmy Hyams first reported Worley's injury on Tuesday afternoon.
Evan Woodbery covers Tennessee football. Follow him on Twitter.