Encouraging news on possible return for Georgia wide receiver Ladd McConkey

ATHENS – News on the injury front for Georgia on Tuesday was neither good nor bad. More like inconclusive.

Clear answers were few in coming. Coach Kirby Smart’s responses to questions about specific players ranged from mildly encouraging (Ladd McConkey) to curiously vague (Mykel Williams) to surprisingly pessimistic (Roderick Robinson).

No injured player’s return for the Auburn game Saturday seemed an absolute certainty, and the effectiveness of those who might try remained in question.

Following were a few of the exchanges with Smart after the Bulldogs completed Tuesday’s practice:

On junior flanker McConkey’s availability after missing the first four games with a back injury …

“Don’t know. He did some things today. He got to practice. He didn’t do much Monday. He ran routes and caught balls, and then today he got in plays and ran routes. I saw him some, but I didn’t get to see enough to really judge it. I’m going to go watch the tape of the periods I wasn’t over there with them and see what he looks like. We’re just trying to progress him back slowly, whether it’s this week in a role or whether it’s, you know, the future. We’re not trying to rush him back.”

On what running backs Kendall Milton (MCL sprain) and Robinson (ankle) are able to do this week …

“Roderick hasn’t done much. He’s been in the training room dealing with the high-ankle (sprain), but Kendall was able to go some today and did some stuff. Again, I saw him out there. I didn’t get to see how much he did or how he looked doing it. I’ll evaluate that on tape. But he was able to take reps and go and cut and do some things.”

On whether DE Mykel Williams (illness) or SS Javon Bullard (ankle) will be able to play …

“Mykel felt better. Hoping he’ll be able to go. Don’t know that yet. Probably know more tomorrow. Javon was able to do more today. He felt the best he had. He did walk-throughs, he ran on the side, did some scout-period stuff. Didn’t go in the ‘good-on-good’ stuff. Those guys are going to be probably really close, right there with Ladd and Kendall. Could be into the weekend before we know.”

Several Georgia players will, of course, remain sidelined. That includes running back Branson Robinson (ACL, out for year), defensive end Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins (foot) and offensive tackle Amarius Mims (ankle).

Overall, though, the Bulldogs appear to be considerably more healthy than last week, when as many as 16 scholarship players were receiving treatment for various maladies or out. This week, expect that number to shrink to single digits. That should include the return of offensive tackle Austin Blaske (knee) and tight end Lawson Luckie (ankle), outside linebacker Marvin Jones Jr. (illness).

Regardless of how many players get back, the Bulldogs won’t be able to use them all. Now into SEC play, travel rosters are limited to 70 players for conference games.

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