ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart said inside linebacker Monty Rice “is probably not going to be available this week, he’s doubtful.”
Freshman offensive guard Cade Mays is questionable, senior guard Kendall Baker (knee) is “very doubtful,” leaving the Bulldogs’ offensive line thin entering practice this week.
Georgia (10-1) plays host to Georgia Tech (7-4) at noon on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: SEC Network; Radio: WSB 750 AM, 95.5 FM).
Rice, who has led the team in tackles this season, didn’t play in the Bulldogs’ 66-27 win over UMass on Saturday after injuring himself during pregame warmups. Mays (shoulder) and Baker did not dress out for the game.
Smart said Rice was injured while “planting and driving” in the warmups and X-Rays were taken.
The Georgia front seven has had its share of struggles this season, already missing run-stopping defensive end David Marshall indefinitely because of a foot injury.
Smart said the inside linebacker positions are very important against an option team like Georgia Tech.
“The middle linebacker is critical against Tech’s offense, but really both linebackers,” Smart said. “Both have to be tremendous keys, and be able to read and react, they have to be good tacklers.”
Redshirt sophomore guard Ben Cleveland didn’t see action against UMass on the punt team because the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (10-1) didn’t punt.
Smart said Cleveland suffered a sprained ankle at the end of the Auburn game, though he did practice in the days leading up to the UMass game.
“It’s tough when you’ve got an ankle and you’re coming off that (broken fibula) injury,” Smart said. “It’s not something you just wake up from. Ben is cleared. but Ben is not his normal self. If he didn’t have the ankle, it would be easier on him.”
Outside linebacker Walter Grant limped off the field against UMass, but Smart said he has been dealing with an ankle all season and indicated he will continue to play.
Smart made it clear he’s hoping all of his players can be ready for the Yellow Jackets, winners of four straight.
“We need everybody, all the time,” Smart said. “I don’t want anybody to be hurt. We want to stay as healthy as we can, but teams across the country are beat up. It’s why you have 85 scholarships.
“You’ve got to prepare guys and get guys ready to play. I think that we’re not as healthy as we have been in the past but things could be worse.”
Georgia football injury report
OLB Walter Grant (ankle) probable
OG Ben Cleveland (left fibula) probable
DL Tyler Clark (finger) probable
DB Divaad Wilson (knee) questionable
LB Monty Rice (lower left leg) doubtful
OL Cade Mays (shoulder) questionable
OL Kendall Baker (knee) doubtful
DE David Marshall (foot) out
DT DaQuan Hawkins-Muckle (unknown) out
DB Ameer Speed (unknown) out
DE Justin Young (unknown) out
SS Jarvis Wilson (unknown) out
DB Tray Bishop (internal team issue), out
RB Zamir White (knee), out for season