Stetson Bennett dealing with strained back, JT Daniels ‘pushing back’ from injury

091121 Athens: Georgia quarterbacks JT Daniels (from left), Stetson Bennett, and Carson Beck prepare to play UAB in a NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept 11, 2021, in Atlanta. ���Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@ajc.com���

ATHENS — Georgia quarterback JT Daniels is still “pushing back” from his injury, and Stetson Bennett has a strained lower back, according to Coach Kirby Smart.

“JT feels much better, he’s continued to improve, better now than he was on Saturday,” Smart said after practice on Tuesday. “I don’t know that he’s 100 percent, but he’s certainly getting closer to that.”

Daniels sat out of Georgia’s 56-7 win over UAB last Saturday, giving way to experienced fifth-year senior Stetson Bennett.

Bennett, of course ripped up the Blazers to the tune of a school-record 5 touchdown passes — all in the first half — in a 10-of-12 passing performance that netted 288 yards. Bennett also had the longest run of the day for the Bulldogs, a 20-yarder, to set up another touchdown.

Georgia plays host to South Carolina at 7 p.m. on Saturday (TV: ESPN) but Smart gave no indication who might start. The Bulldogs are a 31-point favorite.

“Stetson is repping, JT is repping and Carson (Beck) is repping,” Smart said. " Stetson has actually got some lower back issues that he strained some stuff, but he’s able to go, but I don’t know he’s 100 percent.

“He’s been dinged up since Monday morning, but he went out and practiced as well,” Smart said. “They are all three practicing.

“I think Carson is 100 parent healthy, the other two are still pushing back,”

Beck, a redshirt freshman seeing his first extended playing time, struggled through a 4-of-10 passing performance that gained 88 yards and a TD through the air, but also, a Pick-6 interception.

Injury updates

WR Arik Gilbert: Smart said he is still not back with the team, and he doesn’t know when he will be back.

WR Dominick Blaylock: Continues to recover from torn ACL suffered in August of 2020, but Smart said he now also has a hamstring issue.

WR Kearis Jackson: Continues to play on punt return and is improving “day by day,” Smart said, before adding, “I thought on Monday he looked really good, today I didn’t notice him as much.”

WR Arian Smith: Smith is back practicing after leaving the game with a bruised lower leg.

TE Darnell Washington: Has the boot removed from the foot he had surgery on and is doing some weight-bearing running, Smart said on Monday.

DB Tykee Smith: Like Washington, has the boot removed from the foot he had surgery on and is doing weight-bearing running.

WR George Pickens: Is still recovering from ACL injury suffered last March, is doing straight-line running.

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