The Georgia Bulldogs are hoping to have all hands on deck Saturday when they host Tennessee in a highly-anticipated showdown in Sanford Stadium. On Tuesday, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart offered the latest on some of the Bulldogs’ banged-up players.
Smart gave updates after practice on wide receiver AD Mitchell, offensive tackle Amarius Mims and running back Kendall Milton. Smart explained Mitchell (ankle) and Mims (MCL sprain) have not been practicing with the team and have been working to the side, with Smart noting Mims has good flexion in his knee and has been able to “do some sets and move around and lift and hit some things.”
The prognosis for Milton, meanwhile, is a positive one. Smart said Milton practiced with the team today and took some reps.
Milton suffered the injury in Georgia’s victory over Auburn, and as a result he did not play against Vanderbilt.
Smart said last Tuesday that Milton was “much better on Monday” after Milton had been able to practice in a non-contact capacity the previous Thursday, the Bulldogs’ last practice before the bye week. The Bulldogs head coach noted Georgia lightened Milton’s load during Tuesday’s practice, but the outlook remains positive as Milton looks to return to action.
Milton did not go through pre-game warm-ups prior to the Vanderbilt game and ultimately did not see the field. Smart had described Milton as “probably probable” on the previous Tuesday while noting he had not practiced to that point in the week.
Milton was slowed during fall camp due to a hamstring injury, but he did not miss any games as a result. The junior has taken 46 carries for 284 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Mitchell has continued to be limited going back to the ankle injury he sustained against Samford in Week 2 of the season. He is at the game Saturday but was no dressed out and will not play.
Smart gave an update on Mitchell last Tuesday, noting that Mitchell and defensive tackle Jalen Carter “have done things sparingly” and that Carter has probably looked better than Mitchell. Smart said at that point the team doesn’t “feel great about them” going into the Florida game.
Mitchell went through preliminary pre-game warm-ups for the Vanderbilt game but did not take any reps with the wide receivers once the entire team came out to the field. He warmed up against Auburn the week before that but only played 4 snaps in the game.
Smart explained after the Auburn victory that Mitchell was now dealing with a thumb sprain in the midst of working his way back from the ankle injury.
Mitchell has missed four of the last five games for Georgia after suffering an ankle injury against Samford on Sept. 10. Mitchell caught 5 passes for 69 yards and 1 touchdown in the Bulldogs’ season opener before sustaining an ankle injury on the first play from scrimmage against Samford.
Mims has played in all eight games for Georgia this season and was on the field Saturday when he was rolled up on at the end of a play. A former five-star recruit, Mims has been a crucial part of a deep offensive line group for the Bulldogs that has routinely rotated in players from the bench.
In addition to those injury updates, Smart spoke about outside linebacker Nolan Smith, who the team confirmed Tuesday afternoon will undergo surgery on Thursday due to a torn pec.
“He’s a great leader, unquestioned toughness. He’s just got great toughness. The guy’s been durable. He’s been here his whole career. He hits things so hard. He closes on counters. He creates an attitude of toughness that kind of embodies our defense,” Smart said. “He’s been a very vocal leader this year — and really, to be honest, the last two days. He’s out there running to the ball, flying to the ball, coaching the guys, doing everything. He’s been an incredible impact just on the energy of practice.
“[I’m] very appreciative of all he’s done and just an unfortunate part of football, but it’s a very common injury and surgery. Roquan [Smith] had one while he was here [and] Roquan had one in the NFL. He’ll make it back from it and he’ll be fine.”