Georgia loses tight end Brock Bowers to ankle injury

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers kneels on the turf after being injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers kneels on the turf after being injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Top-ranked Georgia won its game against Vanderbilt on Saturday, but the Bulldogs suffered a major loss when Brock Bowers left the game with an ankle injury.

The star tight end had to be helped off the field after a failed reverse deep in the Commodores’ territory with 7:24 remaining in the first half. Bowers had gained 14 yards on the play when he was forced out of bounds at the Vanderbilt 15-yard line. Quarterback Carson Beck, blocking on the play, was called for holding, costing Bowers and Georgia 10 of those yards.

Bowers had gotten up to make his way to the Georgia huddle when he went down on both knees. Pounding the artificial turf with his fist, it quickly was apparent he had injured his leg. He was helped off the field but walked mostly under his own power, limping noticeably. After being examined in the Bulldogs’ medical tent, he was escorted off the field to get imaging tests.

After the game, Smart confirmed that X-rays were negative, and it’s just a sprain. But the severity remains unknown, as is Bowers’ availability for the Florida game in two weeks. The Bulldogs are off next week.

“Don’t know how severe,” Smart said after the 37-20 victory. “X-rays negative. It looks like it was lower (ankle), but until we get the MRI back, we won’t know.”

Georgia tight end Brock Bowers (19) walks of the field with head coach Kirby Smart, right, after being injured in the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Credit: AP

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Bowers was one of three offensive starters the Bulldogs lost in the first half. Right tackle Xavier Truss also left the game a short time later with an ankle sprain and did not return. Running back Kendall Milton aggravated a sprained MCL and did not play after the second quarter.

Oscar Delp and Lawson Luckie stepped up in Bowers’ absence. Freshman Monroe Freeling filled in for Truss, who was filling in for Amarius Mims. Daijun Edwards carried the load after Milton went out and finished with 146 yards on 20 carries and a touchdown.

Smart was thankful for the off-week that will give his players some extra time to heal.

“I’ve never had a bye week that came at the wrong time,” Smart quipped. “I feel great about the bye week.”

Regardless, the undefeated Bulldogs must press on.

“We worry about players (getting injured) all the time,” Smart said. “But there’s not a lot you can do about it. It’s the game of football, right? They’re going to play tackle, and you’re going to get injured. ... We can’t overreact to it. We’re thinking about Brock, but we think he’ll be fine.”

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