Injury sidelines Georgia receiver Jermaine Burton for spring

Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) is pictured going through drills during the Bulldogs' practice on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at Woodruff Practice Fields. Sometime after this shot Burton had to be helped off the field and carried into UGA's training room for further examination. (Photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)
Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton (7) is pictured going through drills during the Bulldogs' practice on Tuesday, March 30, 2021, at Woodruff Practice Fields. Sometime after this shot Burton had to be helped off the field and carried into UGA's training room for further examination. (Photo by Tony Walsh/UGA Athletics)

Credit: Tony Walsh

Credit: Tony Walsh

ATHENS -- Georgia wide receiver Jermaine Burton suffered a knee hyperextension in practice on Tuesday and had to be helped off Woodruff Practice Fields.

The injury was confirmed by Chris Claiborne, Burton’s coach at Calabasas (Calif.) High School. It was characterized by him and others who have been in contact with Burton as “not too serious.” However, he is expected to miss the rest of spring practice.

No other information was immediately available. UGA officials did not respond to requests for comment and coach Kirby Smart is not scheduled to meet with media until Saturday. The Bulldogs are expected to conduct their second scrimmage of the spring then.

Recovery for a mild to moderate knee hyperextension in football is two to four weeks, according to healthline.com. A more severe sprain could take longer. The “RICE” principle of treatment is prescribed: Rest, ice, compression, elevation.

News of Burton being injured spread like wildfire on social media and in the chatrooms of fan sites even before the Bulldogs’ practice concluded at about 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. Georgia was in full pads and practicing outdoors when Burton was injured during a competitive drill. Burton screamed in pain, was immediately tended to by trainers and had to be helped off the field. He was then carted to the Bulldogs’ training room.

The fan base will have to be forgiven for freaking out a little. After all, it was just one week ago, exactly, that everybody learned star wideout George Pickens suffered a torn anterior-cruciate ligament in his right knee in practice. Pickens is expected to undergo reconstructive surgery in two weeks and likely won’t return for his junior season.

Burton was the primary candidate to replace Pickens at split end. The 6-foot, 200-pound sophomore starred as a freshman at flanker last season. But he was already getting work at the “X,” Georgia’s marquee receiver position, before Pickens was felled by injury.

Last year, Burton played only the flanker and no other wideout position. But he started seven games there and caught 27 passes for 404 yards and three touchdowns, which was third among wideouts. Burton also was being groomed for a bigger role this season, including getting looks as a kick returner.

As it is, Georgia will have to turn to the other dozen or so members of its wide receiver corps for the rest of the spring. Topping the list is 6-foot-4, 220-pound redshirt freshman Justin Robinson. The Bulldogs can also move flankers Demetris Robertson or Arian Smith into the the X position. Slotback Kearis Jackson also could make the move outside from slotback, where Georgia hopes to eventually get back 2019 and 2020 knee injury victim Dominick Blaylock. Rising sophomore Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint also is recovering from a late-fall leg injury and could possibly factor in.

Getting to the season opener against Clemson without any other losses in the receiver room is now the primary goal.

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