Shoulder injury may be affecting D’Andre Swift's ball security

Another day, another injury-status update on Georgia’s D’Andre Swift.

No sense bemoaning it. The health of the Bulldogs’ star running back will be discussed right up until kickoff against No. 2 LSU in Saturday’s SEC Championship game. He’s that important to Georgia’s offensive fortunes.

And his exact injury remains that murky.

First, coach Kirby Smart’s update provided to a national media member attending Tuesday’s post-practice briefing: “He’s been out there doing what we asked him to do. He’s practicing. He’s banged up. It’s tough, but he’s a warrior. He’s a fighter and we expect him to be able to go.”

Part of the curiosity regarding Swift’s left shoulder injury is it wasn’t important how or what got hurt on the third-quarter play in which he had to be helped off the field. After being tackled by linebacker David Curry and fumbling away the football for the second time in the game, Swift stayed down the field clutching his left shoulder. Swift would later emerge from the injury tent with his left shoulder wrapped with an ice pack.

Yet video of the play show no contact whatsoever with Swift's left shoulder. Which leads to the question, exactly how was it hurt?
"We had that same question," Smart said. "It was earlier in the game that he injured it. He continued to play with it and it began to hurt more and more after that. That was the culmination of that on that play when it was bothering him more."

Officially, Swift’s injury is described as a shoulder contusion. Smart prefers just to say that Swift is “banged up.”



“He’s had a banged up shoulder a lot of the year, a lot of the guys have,” Smart said of the Bulldogs’ leading rusher with 1,203 yards and seven touchdowns. “Brian Herrien’s had it. A couple of players have had similar injuries. He’s dealt with it, played with it. I won’t say it’s a common injury, but we’ve had a lot of guys who have had that same injury. He’s been dealing with it and it came to a head Saturday. He had a couple of hits earlier where he did fall on it.”

Of more concern to the Bulldogs is Swift’s ball-security issues heading into the game. While he has been strong with the ball throughout his career, and this year as well, he has now fumbled the ball three times in the last three games.

Smart said Georgia prefers for its backs to carry the football in the sideline arm when they are running outside but also leaves it up to the individual runner, some of whom prefer always carry it in the dominant arm for strength purposes.

The fact that Swift was carrying the ball under his right arm on a left sweep on both of his fumbles against Tech could be a tell-tale sign.

“Sometimes injuries are involved in that,” Smart said. “But he is comfortable in his right arm, so, that’s where he had those.”

Expect LSU to also be mindful of that.