UGA’s Mitchell out for the spring with new leg injury

A new leg injury sidelined Georgia wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell for the rest of spring practice.

Mitchell injured his left leg Tuesday in the Bulldogs’ first practice of the spring. UGA did not provide any details about the injury other than that Mitchell should recover in time to participate in preseason practice when it opens in August.

“Well, we’re trying to keep it vague,” coach Mark Richt sad after Saturday’s practice, the Bulldogs’ third of 15 this spring. “But the good news is we think he’ll be ready by the summertime to be working and be 100 percent by the time camp starts. A lot of the times (that’s) the big question. We don’t think it will cost him the season at all, or even any camp for that matter.”

A junior, Mitchell missed last season after tearing the ACL in his right knee on the second offensive series of the season. The injury famously took place when Mitchell jumped while celebrating a 75-yard touchdown run against Clemson.

“I don’t think it was related to that,” Richt said.

Mitchell worked with the rest of the receivers while wearing a green, non-contact jersey in the first workout of the spring Tuesday and seemed to be sprinting full speed without issue. But after practice that day Richt said Mitchell was unable to finish the workout because “his knee was sore.”

Mitchell has been a fantastic player when he has been able to play. He had 1,237 yards receiving and eight touchdowns his first two seasons, but missed games both seasons with hamstring and other minor issues.

“We use the term explosive,” Richt said. “The guy, he just can jump, he can change direction so quickly, he can go from zero to 60 faster than most human beings. Because of that sometimes it puts pressure on your muscles and joints and all that kind of thing. I think that’s part of it. He’s just a strong, strong guy.”

Georgia already was missing Justin Scott-Wesley this spring while he recovers from the reconstructive knee surgery he underwent last fall. But the Bulldogs still have some decent depth at the position. Seven lettermen remain with the unit, including Michael Bennett, Chris Conley, Reggie Davis, Uriah LeMay, Jonathon Rumph, Blake Tibbs and Kenneth Towns. Four freshmen signees will join them this summer.

“Malcolm went down, but other guys have to step up in his place,” said Rumph, a 6-foot-5, 208-pound rising senior. “When he gets back he’ll just be another addition that makes us better.”

Hicks likes tight end: Quayvon Hicks said he never batted an eye when Georgia's offensive coaches came to him shortly after the bowl game and told him they wanted to work him at tight end this spring. A rising junior, he played fullback his first two seasons.

“You’ve got to embrace it because, at this level, not only getting on the football field but being able to be used in multiple ways is a big deal, especially if you want to further your career,” Hicks said. “It’s something that could be important in the future.”

Hicks (6-2, 265) started six games and played in all 13 last season while sharing time with Merritt Hall at fullback. But it was mostly downhill from a production standpoint after he broke loose for a 37-yard gain on his first carry against Clemson in the opener last season. He finished the season with 72 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs have depth issues at tight end this spring. Starter Jay Rome remains sidelined after January foot surgery, and Jordan Davis, who was redshirted as a freshman last season, is the only other scholarship player at the position.

Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said Hicks will work exclusively at tight end this spring in hopes of playing there and at fullback, along with a developing “H-back” role, next season.

Etc.: While there were some doubts about his availability coming into the spring, tailback Todd Gurley has been "doing everything" in the Bulldogs' first three practices. Gurley sat out offseason workouts with unspecified leg injuries. … Georgia donned pads for the first time this spring. They practiced in shoulder pads and helmets but remained in shorts. … Tailback Keith Marshall and cornerback Reggie Wilkerson, both recovering from knee injuries, practiced but were held out of contact. … Senior Watts Dantzler is playing exclusively at right tackle this spring.

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