October 15, 2016 Atlanta - Georgia Tech running back Clinton Lynch (22) runs past Georgia Southern cornerback Darius Jones Jr. (5) for a touchdown in the first half at Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday, October 15, 2016. HYOSUB SHIN / HSHIN@AJC.COM
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC/hshin@ajc.com

Clock ticks on Clinton Lynch’s return from injury

Out with an unspecified injury, Georgia Tech A-back Clinton Lynch will have to return to practice this week or else the Yellow Jackets will have to face the prospect of taking on Tennessee in the season opener without him.

“He hadn’t practiced in the spring,” coach Paul Johnson said after Monday’s practice. “It’s not fair to the other guys.”

Lynch was highly productive as a sophomore last season, putting together one of the best statistical seasons for an A-back in Johnson’s nine-year tenure at Tech. He gained 415 rushing yards on 37 carries (11.2 yards per rush) and 490 receiving yards on just 16 receptions (30.6 yards per catch). He scored a total of eight touchdowns, or one per 6.6 touches. He gained 20 yards or more once every 3.1 touches and 40 yards or more once every 7.6 touches.

Johnson did not sound overly concerned about the likelihood of his return.

“I think he wants to be out there,” Johnson said. “It’s just when you tweak a muscle or whatever, it’s nothing serious, but you’ve got to be able to run and explode and do that, so we’ll see when he gets back out there.”

Lynch missed all of spring practice after undergoing a platelet-rich plasma treatment for his knee. He was cleared to return and was healthy at least at the start of the preseason. Johnson said the injury that has kept him out is unrelated. He mentioned his absence on occasion last week, saying Wednesday that he had yet to return, for instance.

Tech is strong at the A-back spot. Both Qua Searcy and J.J. Green started a combined 16 games last season and were productive. Nathan Cottrell has made progress this spring and will be a part of the A-back rotation, according to Johnson.

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