(11) LSU
2nd QTR
(1) Georgia

Kirby Smart goes in-depth on JT Daniels’ injury status, ‘it’s beyond our control’

Georgia fans love JT Daniels and want to know when he'll be back on the field, but Kirby Smart grew tired of talking about him after the game on Saturday.
Curtis Compton/AJC

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels will remain week-to-week with a grade one lat strain, and his status for next Saturday’s game at Auburn will be determined by how he feels in the pregame.

Coach Kirby Smart talked extensively about Daniels’ injury, to the extent that he grew upset at reporters for asking about his starting quarterback’s condition following the Bulldogs’ dominant 37-0 win over Arkansas on Saturday.

“Why is this the conversation?” Smart said when asked by an Associated Press reported how close Daniels was to playing in the game.

The answer, of course, was because Smart said on ESPN early in the day that Daniels’ status would be determined by how he felt in warmups.

Smart’s point was partly directed at the Georgia fans and to reinforce the message he has had to his team.

“The men in the locker room have confidence in whoever we put out there, and I know you don’t believe what I say, I know you say, ‘yeah whatever, that’s just coachspeak,’ " Smart said.

“The outside perception is one guy is way better than the other, and I think both of them are really good, and I’m proud of both them,” Smart said.

“Stetson Bennett is a really good quarterback. I keep saying that, and people don’t believe It, but he’s a good quarterback.”

Daniels is too, and to the extent that he was drawing up plays during the game to help his teammates.

“JT stays engaged the whole entire game,” UGA lineman Warren Ericson said.

“Early in the second quarter there was a blitz that Arkansas brought, and he came over afterward after we had a 2-yard loss, he came over with his own whiteboard and he had the play drawn up for Coach (Matt) Luke to look at and say, ‘like hey, in case you missed it here’s what happened,’

“So he paid attention to what Stetson was doing and he paid attention to what the wide receivers were doing and even us as an offensive line he was able to see they brought this, in case we missed it, so we could make an in-game adjustment.”

Smart revealed last week that Daniels was dealing with a lat strain in the aftermath of a strained oblique muscle that had forced him to miss the second game of the season against UAB.

“It’s week-to-week guys, I mean, do your research on a lat injury, it’s one of the largest muscles in the body, It can be strained, it could be stretched, it could be torn,” Smart said. “Dak Prescott went through this injury and Dak’s, we think, was more extreme than we think JT’s is.

“But JT’s is a grade one lat strain and we think we’ll be able to get him back, but we don’t know when,”

Smart said Daniels is frustrated not to be able to play, but the team doctors are doing what’s needed to get him back on the field as soon as possible.

“It’s not like we’ve done anything to make him worse; If anything he’s had a lot of time,” said Smart, who pulled Daniels out of the Vanderbilt game in the first quarter last Saturday.

“We don’t know if the oblique compounded the lat, but they are two separate injuries, and it’s been flaring up on him,” Smart said. “It’s a painful injury that we’re hopefully going to get him back from.

“I can’t explain it any more than that. I’m not losing sleep on it because it’s beyond our control.”

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