Just three and a half months after junior wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell tore his ACL while celebrating the first touchdown of the UGA football season at Clemson, he was seen running on the Woodruff Practice Fields on Friday while the rest of his team continued to prepare for the Gator Bowl against Nebraska.
These days, the timetable for recovery for such an injury completely varies athlete by athlete. What use to take a solid year, with an addition year of getting back to normal, now seems to take more like nine to eleven months until a player sees game action again. Credit can be given to advances in medicine, surgery, and rehab for putting players like Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson back on top his game in just nine short months following his tear of his ACL back in 2011.
So to see Mitchell running at what appeared to be a very good pace – perhaps not full speed quite yet – just three and a half months after his injury, is certainly a great sign for Dawg fans.
One can assume that had Mitchell stayed healthy in 2013, and had a season he is capable of having while returning to play wide receiver full time after playing some defense to start 2012, that an NFL jump may have been on his agenda this coming spring. But with the injury, the required rehab, and perhaps the need to prove himself again at his position, Mitchell will return to an already potent wide receiving corps in 2014 to assist the transition from quarterback Aaron Murray to Hutson Mason for an entire season. And that is not a bad thing for Mason, while may be a bad thing for opposing SEC cornerbacks next fall.
As far as Spring Practice 2014, Mitchell will still only be 6 months removed from his injury. The media may anticipate seeing Mitchell going through some drills, and more sideline running, but it may only be reasonable to think he will be held out of G-Day on April 12th and all other scrimmages until fall camp.
Still, seeing Mitchell making progress is a very positive sign of things to come between the hedges when the Dawgs welcome Clemson to Athens on August 30th, 2014, seeking revenge for not only losing to the Tigers in 2013, but also losing Mitchell on their field.
PHOTO: Logan Booker/BI