Junior running back Richard Samuel underwent surgery on his left ankle Tuesday morning, a procedure that could cost him the rest of the regular season.
Head coach Mark Richt made the announcement during Tuesday's press briefing at the Butts-Mehre Building, ahead of this Saturday's Homecoming Game against New Mexico State (12:30, CSS).
"It's (the surgery) probably not going to slow down his rehab, but it will probably speed it up," Richt said. "Sometimes you can take a ligament, put it back in place, put a pin or a screw to hold it in place and it tends to be stable enough to rehab, where if you wait for it to heal on its on, you've got to stay off it longer. So we think it will allow us to speed up his rehab, but the surgery Ron (team trainer Ron Courson) said was profitable."
Richt said there was some discussion whether to have the surgery at all after X-rays taken after Saturday's 24-20 win over Florida came back negative.
"It's a very stable surgery, but we don't exactly when he will be back. It obviously won't be any time soon," Richt said. "I'd say a minimum of four (weeks)."
Samuel's absence might not have been considered a big deal for Saturday's contest against the Aggies, but that was before the school announced that Isaiah Crowell, Carlton Thomas and Ken Malcome were being suspended for a "violation of team rules." Sources later told UGASports that the suspensions were due to an alleged failed drug test.
Also, on the injury front:
• Left guard Dallas Lee will not need surgery to repair a broken leg, but Richt said the redshirt sophomore will still miss a minimum of four to six weeks.
• Wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell has "close to a zero" chance of playing Saturday, according to Richt.
Richt pinpoints coverage woe
Richt said Sunday's meeting with his special team coaches revealed one inherent flaw regarding the play of the kickoff coverage team.
"Guys were just not avoiding blocks in the right direction. If guys were avoiding blocks properly then you've got all your gaps taken care of. We've got guys just kind of ad-libbing then you get those creases, so that's part of it," Richt said. "But it's also personnel. We're challenging a lot of the guys who are playing a little more scrimmage downs to get involved and more than just the opening kickoff. I think everybody can understand how crucial that is, so there will be other guys involved personnel wise."
Blair Walsh will continue to handle the kickoffs.
"The very first kick was a 4.32 hang-time, which is really good, which is plenty of time. But when we realized we were having some issues, we were going to start trying to bloop the kicks and one of the kicks that looked like a line drive, well, it did wind up being a line drive and it went directly to (Andre) Dubose; it was not designed to do that," Richt said. "We wanted a higher bloop that was going to be shorter and hopefully get a fair catch from a guy who is not normally a guy who would return a kick. But we miss-hit it and it went flat."
This and that
Linebacker Jarvis Jones continued to add to his list of honors following Saturday's effort against Florida as he was named Football Writer's Association/Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week. Jones, a 6-3, 241-pound sophomore, registered four sacks for 27 yards in losses and forced a fumble in the Bulldogs' 24-20 victory over Florida in Jacksonville. The four sacks tie for the second most in a game in Georgia history and are the most by a Georgia player since 2001. Florida was held to minus-19 yards rushing and a single touchdown by the Georgia defense as the Bulldogs won their sixth straight game. He leads the SEC and is now fifth nationally with eight sacks on the season.
Anthony Dasher is the managing editor for UGASports
and he can be reached via email at [email protected]