The ultimate proof will come Saturday when the players in question take the field against No. 11 Auburn — or not — but Georgia coach Kirby Smart was decidedly optimistic assessing the Bulldogs’ injury situation on Monday.
Of particular concern is wide receiver Lawrence Cager and center Trey Hill. Smart pronounced both good to go, essentially.
“We’re expecting Lawrence to be able to go out and practice today; he should be fine,” Smart said Monday during UGA’s media availability. “Trey’s got an ankle (injury), but he’s going to be able to practice today, as far as we know. I’ll find out more when I get out there, but they’re both cleared to practice.”
The Bulldogs subsequently closed practice to media, so there will be no independent verification of that.
It certainly is good news and considerably more favorable than it looked Saturday during the win against Missouri. Hill, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound sophomore and the starting center, left the field under the assistance of trainers with a left ankle sprain at the 4:43 mark of the first quarter. He did not return.
Cager, a senior and the Bulldogs’ leading receiver, had to be helped off after aggravating a chronic shoulder injury on a 32-yard catch 25 seconds before halftime. He also did not return.
Backup center Cade Mays and starting right tackle Isaiah Wilson also left the game in the fourth quarter with ankle injuries, but both were deemed OK. Smart did not address the return other injured players who sat out Saturday, including outside linebacker Walter Grant (unknown) and defensive back Divaad Wilson (hip).
Georgia was able to get playing time for sophomore cornerback Tyson Campbell (turf toe) for the first time since he went out in the third game. That could be important as the Bulldogs attempt to defend Auburn’s Anthony Schwartz, the fastest player in college football.
Mays, speaking to reporters before practice Monday, said he wasn’t sure if he’d be working at center, guard or tackle this week. The 6-6, 318-pound sophomore has played all five positions on the offensive line this season due to injuries.
“I’m not sure what I’ll play,” he said. “I’m sure I’ll find out today.”
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