Georgia football releases official statement on Nolan Smith, confirms surgery

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Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Nolan Smith (4) sacks Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) during the second half in a NCAA Football game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, October 1, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. Georgia won 26-22. (Jason Getz /

The University of Georgia confirmed that senior edge rusher Nolan Smith will undergo surgery to repair a torn pectoral.

“Smith will have surgery to repair the muscle injury on Thursday by Robert Hancock, M.D., and Eric Gordon, M.D., at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center in Athens,” the school said in a release. " Smith will perform his rehabilitation at the University of Georgia and a full recovery is anticipated.”

The statement did not specify a timetable for Smith’s return, but the expectation is that he will be out for the remainder of the season.

Smith was Georgia’s leading pass rusher, along with being the team’s vocal leader.

Without him, Georgia will turn to Robert Beal and Chaz Chambliss to replace Smith’s production.

“Well, Robert played. He played a little more number of snaps once Nolan was injured,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “Chaz did a nice job coming in. It was great to get him back. Didn’t know that he would have to play that much in that role. His hamstring has still been bothering him. It bothered him a little bit the other night after the game.”

Related: How Georgia football will go about replacing all that Nolan Smith brought to the table

The Bulldogs did get star defensive tackle Jalen Carter back last week, as he made a noticeable impact on the game. ESPN’s Bill Connelly tabbed Carter as one of college football’s top x-factors down the stretch.

“He didn’t get a huge run against Florida on Saturday, but he was out there, mostly in passing situations, and Georgia recorded its best pressure rate (36%) since Week 3 against South Carolina,” Connelly wrote. “As good as offenses like Tennessee’s are, a team’s best-laid plans go awry if the middle of its offensive line is getting caved in. If Carter rounds into form moving forward, Georgia’s disruption rates will climb quickly.”

Georgia takes on No. 2 Tennessee on Saturday, with the game set for a 2 p.m. ET start.

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