ATHENS – The oft-injured Kendall Milton is injured again.
This time it’s a hamstring injury. The rising senior -- competing to be Georgia’s starting running back this season -- suffered a significant pull in practice this past week and likely will be sidelined for the rest of spring practice, persons with knowledge of the situation confirmed to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Add hamstring pull to an injury list for Milton that includes knee and shoulder injuries. He also has had hamstring issues in the past. The latest setback came six practices into a 15-practice spring session.
“I would say a big thing is being able to go through the season and maintain my health,” Milton said on March 14, the opening day of spring practice. “That’s one of the biggest points. This offseason, I’ve focused on rehab and things like that. I made that a high emphasis. Really, this season, I just want to go out there and just have fun. One last ride; go have fun.”
Keeping the former 4-star prospect in action has proved challenging. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound back from Fresno, Calif., had seven “did not play(s)” and another game without any carries in 15 games in 2021. He played in seven of 10 games as a freshman in 2020 while deferring carries to upperclassmen James Cook and Zamir White.
Last season was the most productive season of Milton’s career. He played in 13 of 15 games and got the first start of his career against Georgia Tech in the final game of the regular season. Milton recorded his first 100-yard game as a Bulldog with 113 yards on 8 carries in the SEC Championship game victory over LSU. He finished 9 TDs, 8 rushing scores and the highest per-carry average of all the Georgia’s backs at 7.0 yards per attempt last year.
So, the Bulldogs obviously know what they have in Milton. The primary downside to missing the remainder of the spring is the reps he would’ve gotten in the passing game with Georgia’s new quarterbacks.
The good news for the Bulldogs is hamstring injuries rarely require surgery and mostly require just rest, ice and minor physical therapy to recover, according to the Mayo Clinic’s website. Straining one of more of the three-muscle group in the back of the upper leg is common among athletes who sprint at full speed.
Meanwhile, three other backs will see their workload increased the rest of the spring. Milton was competing with fellow senior Daijun Edwards for the No. 1 job. Edwards’ ability to stay healthy was what has kept Edwards ahead of Milton on the depth chart. He has played in all 30 of Georgia’s game last season and nine of 10 in 2020.
After Edwards, the Bulldogs will turn to sophomore Branson Robinson and early-enrollee freshman Roderick Robinson. Both have created a bit of the buzz this spring when it comes to running the football. It’s the other aspects of the position they both need to show improvement.
Redshirt freshman Andrew Paul, who signed with Georgia last year, remains sidelined while rehabbing an ACL injury from last August. However, there are plenty of others to log carries throughout the rest of spring practIce, including walkons Savaughn Clark, Cash Jones and Jacob Handle.
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