NASHVILLE — Georgia head coach Kirby Smart provided injury updates on a number of players when speaking with reporters at the 2023 SEC Media Days.
The two most noteworthy were in regard to linebacker Smael Mondon and running back Branson Robinson. Both players missed Georgia’s spring game with lower extremity injuries.
Smart said neither will be “full-go” to start fall camp. Mondon had a left foot injury while Robinson had a boot on his right foot.
“I don’t know how long it will be, but they will not be full go on practice one,” Smart said in a meeting with reporters. “They’ll be able to run what we call dry landing running the next stage.
“They’ll be dry land running, but they won’t be full go in practice. We’re going to go through a little bit slower ramp-up process with both of them. They’ve both been dealing with significant injuries. We’re hopeful to get them back, but I don’t know when that will be in terms of full speed.”
Mondon started 13 games for Georgia last season and led the team in tackles. He is expected to be a key piece of the Georgia defense once again this season, pairing alongside Jamon Dumas-Johnson. Georgia is well-stocked at inside linebacker behind him, with Xavian Sorey, EJ Lightsey and Jalon Walker all ready to fill his role.
Robinson was having a strong spring prior to his injury. Georgia was very banged up at the running back position this spring, with Roderick Robinson being the only scholarship running back who was not limited due to injury.
Smart did not know if either would miss anytime to start the season.
“They both had injuries in spring practice. Actually, if anything, they’ve done well,” Smart said. “They’ve progressed well and probably moved up the timeline if anything, but we can’t judge until we get out there with them and put pads on.”
As for Mykel Williams, who had foot surgery in the spring, Smart believes he is in a much better spot than Robinson and Mondon.
“He will be full go by fall camp,” Smart said. “He is not full go currently, but he’s had a great rehab, work in progress. I mean, I’ve gotten to see him run some during the agility stuff we get to go view. He’s not back completely yet, but he’s ahead of the other two you mentioned — Branson and Smael.”
Williams led the team in sacks last season
Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards are expected to be 100 percent at the start of fall camp. Smart also said that running back Andrew Paul is on track to be cleared to play. He tore his ACL last August and did not play as a freshman. Georgia did bring in walk-on Len’Neth Whitehead, who previously played at Tennessee.
“He’s going to be cleared,” Smart said of Paul He’s going to come out in a rigid brace starting out and then he’ll work himself into confidence and come out of it. But there’s nothing that I’ve seen that’s kept me from believing he’ll be ready to go.
Smart provided updates on Marvin Jones Jr. and Jalon Walker but both are expected to be 100 percent for the start of fall practice. Both had shoulder injuries that kept them out of spring practice. Smart said the biggest thing will be the conditioning level for both players.
Safety Dan Jackson will also be cleared to start camp. He missed most of last season with a foot injury.
Georgia has not officially announced when it will start fall practice but the expectation is that it will be before the first Saturday in August. The Bulldogs open the 2023 season on Sept. 2 against UT-Martin.
Georgia football injury report
- Smael Mondon, linebacker -- foot
- Branson Robinson, running back -- foot
- Mykel Williams -- foot
- Marvin Jones Jr. -- shoulder
- Jalon Walker -- shoulder
- Dan Jackson -- foot
- Andrew Paul -- knee