During UGA football’s Monday press conference and then on Tuesday, Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart updated the status of several injured players as the Bulldogs prepare to take on the Wildcats of Kentucky tonight (Saturday) at 6:00 p.m. EST.
Smart said on Monday that wide receiver Lawrence Cager is expected to be week-to-week after re-aggravating a shoulder injury and sustaining another injury in the second half of the South Carolina game last Saturday.
“I don’t know if Cager is going to be able to play. He’s probably going to be out this week, we don’t know that for sure, we’re going to see,” said Kirby smart. “He’s dealing with more than a shoulder, now, he’s got another injury that happened Saturday, so he may not be able to play.”
On Tuesday, Kirby reaffirmed that Cager was doubtful for this week and would be week-to-week going forward.
“Well, it’s probably week-to-week. It’s not looking good this week,” said Smart. “It’s going to be week-to-week depending on how fast he heals.”
Another player that is doubtful for the Kentucky game is defensive lineman Travon Walker. After playing in the Bulldogs’ first five games, the freshman has been missing from practices the last couple of weeks and was spotted on the sideline wearing a sling and splint on his left arm during the South Carolina game this past Saturday.
“He had a couple of weeks ago… he had something bothering him and then they ended up finding out what it was. He had to get surgery on his wrist,” said Kirby. “But he’s expected back real soon. Like, next week.”
In addition to Cager and Walker, it’s been a long, slow process for cornerback Tyson Campbell since injuring his foot during the second quarter of the Arkansas State game back on September 14th, which Smart later confirmed was turf toe in Saturday’s post-South Carolina game presser.
“I don’t know yet. He was out there warming up today. He’s gotten better. He’s been able to run around at practice. He’s just not 100%. That’s a very delicate injury, and it’s tough to get over,” said Kirby. “And we’re trying to be patient because you don’t want to come back early from that injury. Turf toe is a tough one.”
Coach Smart was more positive than he has been in a long time on the sophomore defensive back on Monday; although, he did caution that normally, “turf-toe” is not an injury that players come back quickly from.
“Tyson feels like he’s almost back. He can run, plant, point, and drive, but the pressure, the torque it takes to hit someone and drive off it where he’s feeling someone else’s pressure, that’s what we struggled with. It’s a long, slow injury,” said Kirby. “We’ve talked to everybody across the country and there’s nothing you can do to speed that up. I don’t know… know if he’ll be back. Last time I got to see him was during warmups and he was getting closer; so, I’ll see.”
But it does look like he is progressing. Campbell was spotted during Tuesday’s media viewing working with the team on some drills.
One of the most “banged up” and “dinged up” units for Georgia has been the offensive line. While there have been no serious, season-ending injuries, a number of players have been dealing with some ailment or another like right guard Ben Cleveland, left guard Solomon Kindley, and offensive lineman Justin Shaffer. Of those three, Shaffer’s looks like it will keep him out for Saturday’s game.
“Yeah. (Justin) Shaffer will be out this week,” said Kirby. “Don’t know… He’ll be week-to-week following this week. Don’t know when we’ll get him back.”
Kindley has been dealing with an injury to his ankle he sustained versus Notre Dame back on September 21st. As far as the game this evening, he might be able to go per Coach Smart. Sophomore Cade Mays has been getting reps in practice over Kindley with the first group rotation in practice at left guard, though.
“Solomon (Kindley) is dinged up. We think he’s going to be able to go this week. Think he’ll be able to play,” said Kirby during Monday’s press conference. “He’s going to be struggling a little bit today and rehabbing some.”
Cleveland is one of those that is “beat up” but should be able to go against Kentucky.
“Ben Cleveland is a little beat up. There was times the other day he was unable to go and ended up being able to finish the game for us,” said Kirby. “We’ve got a couple of other guys who are beaten and banged up but everybody in the SEC does.”
After missing the South Carolina game with back spasms, senior running back Brian Herrien has been practicing this week. Wide receiver Tommy Bush has been dealing with a groin injury and has not been able to play or practice; however, after making Kearis Jackson‘s return from injury, a broken hand he suffered versus Vanderbilt all the way back on August 31st, last week versus South Carolina, he looks to be good to go again this evening.
To end on a positive note, some good news on quarterback D’Wan Mathis. The freshman had emergency surgery back on May 23 following the discovery of a cyst that was found on his brain. He had been cleared to participate with the team during Fall Camp and in practice; although, he hadn’t been cleared to take live reps as of yet. On Tuesday, Coach Smart gave a positive update on Mathis.
“He’s getting closer, we’re hoping, he’s getting to do more. He’s getting to do some scout-team things and do more activity,” said Kirby. “But he’s still not cleared to play and take live reps soon. And we’ll hope that’ll be soon.”