MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two of Georgia’s three top inside linebackers are practicing and have a chance to play in the Liberty Bowl. Whether they will, however, remains uncertain.
Natrez Patrick, who started the first nine games before sitting out the next three, has a good chance to play, coach Kirby Smart said after Monday’s first practice in Memphis.
“He was out there today, he had a black (non-contact) jersey on, but we really think he’s going to be able to play. And we’re excited to get him back,” Smart said. “It’s really conditioning now for Natrez. And also a little bit what personnel we play.”
Patrick was Georgia’s leading tackler (tied with Roquan Smith) after the Kentucky game, then missed the next three with what Smart described as a shoulder injury.
Reggie Carter, who moved into Patrick’s starting spot, hyperextended his knee earlier this month during bowl practice. Carter was practicing on Monday during the media viewing period, while Patrick appeared to be sitting out, but that was just while the media was out there.
“We hope he’s going to be able to play,” Smart said of Carter. “He is further today than he was previously. He was able to go out and run some straight-ahead stuff. Still not practicing a lot of reps. But he knows our defense and has been in our defense a long time, we feel comfortable that he’s going to be able to play by the end of the week. But we’ve got to be able to see him practice a little bit. Hopefully we can get a bit more out of him each day.”