ATHENS — Georgia will be without its top receiver and the nation’s top freshman for spring football practice.
Tight end Brock Bowers, who led the national champion Bulldogs in touchdowns scored, receptions and receiving yards last season, recently underwent shoulder surgery to repair a torn labrum. His rehabilitation will keep him sidelined through spring practice, which begins next month, and limit his work over the summer. He is expected to be cleared for preseason practices in August.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman from Napa, California, played through the injury the final third of last season and was limited from contact in practices as Georgia prepared for its College Football Playoff run.
Bowers sat out most of the second half of Georgia’s Orange Bowl win over Michigan due to the injury.
“It bothers him from time to time in practice,” coach Kirby Smart said at the time. “It happens to a lot of our players, to be honest with you. I had it when I played. It’s something you have to just deal with. In the offseason, we’ll get a look at it, see if it needs to be repaired surgically or whether or not it’s something that he can rehab and continue to strengthen the muscles around it.”
The Bulldogs typically have several players undergo labrum surgeries every offseason. Junior linebacker Nakobe Dean underwent the procedure last year and missed spring ball, but was able to return for preseason camp and put together an All-America season.
Bowers burst on the scene as a true freshman last season. After Darnell Washington and John FitzPatrick were sidelined with foot injuries early in preseason camp, Bowers took over and started all 15 games for the Bulldogs. He finished the season with 56 catches for 882 yards and established a Georgia record with 13 touchdown receptions. He had also had a rushing TD.
“It happens to a lot of our players, to be honest with you. I had it when I played. It's something you have to just deal with."
Bowers was named national freshman of the year by The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and Maxwell Football Club. He was also named first-team All-America and All-SEC.
Once again, Georgia is loaded at tight end. In addition to Bowers, the 6-7, 265-pound Washington has returned for his junior season. The Bulldogs also have Ryland Goede and Brett Seither at the position and signed the nation’s No. 2 tight end in Oscar Delp of West Forsyth this year.
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