LEXINGTON, Ky. — Georgia football left Kentucky with an SEC East title in hand, but also, a rash of new injuries to deal with.
Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said senior captain and starting center Lamont Gaillard suffered a hyperextended knee on the Bulldogs’ first drive in the 34-17 win over Kentucky and didn’t return to action.
Georgia clinched a trip to the Dec. 1 SEC Championship Game with the win, but the Bulldogs suffered their bumps and bruises, to be sure.
“I don’t know on Lamont. It was like a hyperextended knee, and we don’t know,” Smart said before leaving Kroger Field. “We’re going to see if he swells tomorrow and see what’s going on with him. He could walk, he just couldn’t bear a lot of weight. So, once again, we’ll have to figure out the best grouping.”
True freshman Trey Hill replaced Gaillard for the remainder of the game, and while his performance was mostly solid, there was a high snap deep in Kentucky territory that resulted in a turnover.
“Trey, to be honest with you, there was times this year during fall camp we thought Trey may be a starter. I did,” Smart said. “We kind of tossed the idea around a lot of times. He’s just continued to work.”
Receiver/return specialist Mecole Hardman left the game with an ankle injury, but not before doing his damage, returning the Wildcats’ first punt 65 yards to set up Georgia’s opening touchdown.
“I think Mecole’s going to be fine,” Smart said. “He could’ve come back in.”
Hardman has returned seven of his 10 punt for 20 yards or more, and he’s averaging 26.7 yards per punt return.
Freshman Cade Mays, who has been starting in place of junior Ben Cleveland at right guard, suffered a shoulder stinger with 3:28 left in the third quarter and was replaced by senior Kendall Baker.
“With Cade, he got a burner, a [shoulder] stinger, and we were waiting for the strength to come back,” Smart said. “He’s had it before, but I don’t think he ever got re-inserted. Probably will be okay.”
Cleveland traveled and could be almost ready to return from the broken left fibula he suffered in the Sept. 22 win at Missouri.
“[Offensive line coach] Sam [Pittman has] done a great job as far as having Kendall Baker to play all those positions,” Smart said. “Ben Cleveland still not back yet and ready to go but here’s a guy who’s going to be able to help us when he gets back healthy.”
Georgia returns to action against Auburn in Sanford Stadium next Saturday.