ATHENS — Georgia sophomore receiver George Pickens is expected to miss his second consecutive game, according to multiple sources.
Pickens, the Sugar Bowl MVP with 12 catches for 175 yards in the 26-14 win over Baylor on Jan. 1, has continued to deal with an upper-body injury and did not travel with the team on Friday.
It’s a No. 5-ranked Bulldogs’ team rife with injuries entering the 3:30 p.m. kickoff in Florida against the No. 8-ranked Gators in Jacksonville.
Georgia senior All-American safety Richard LeCounte will miss the game on account of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident last Saturday night.
Senior defensive tackle Julian Rochester is out for the season after suffering a knee injury in last Saturday’s win at Kentucky.
Coach Kirby Smart said earlier this week he’s hopeful junior nose tackle Jordan Davis can play a limited role after getting knocked out of last Saturday’s game against the Wildcats with an elbow injury.
Two other starters who left the Kentucky game injured, safety Lewis Cine (ankle) and linebacker Quay Walker (neck), are expected to play, Smart said.
The Georgia head coach was asked about his confidence in the defensive depth heading into the Florida game during his coaches’ show on Thursday night.
“Not as confident as I was going into the Kentucky game, that’s for sure, we just lost some guys,” Smart said. “There was a point in there where I saw people walking down the sidelines into the locker room, and I just kept seeing them going, and I was like, golly, it was like marching ants.
“We were getting guys in and out, in and out, to get guys X-rayed and worked on, and it was scary to say the least.”
Smart said the Bulldogs, “don’t have the depth we once had, but we’ve got good football players, and we’re going to find out a lot about some of the guys when they get a chance to step up Saturday.”
Pickens’ injury occurred during weight training, according to multiple sources.
The former 5-star receiver has seen his role diminished this season with redshirt junior Stetson Bennett at quarterback.
Pickens, a perimeter receiver, has only 13 catches for 140 yards through the first four games he has played.
Smart has said Georgia was looking for ways to get Pickens more involved.
“We need him to be at his best for us to be where we need to be offensively,” Smart said earlier this week, sparking optimism Pickens might be in position for more catches.
ESPN analyst Jordan Rodgers noted he had only seen Pickens lined up at different receiver positions five times prior to the Kentucky game.
The Bulldogs’ offensive game plan has involved more short passes this season with Jake Fromm off to the NFL.
Bennett is 7-of-20 passing for 275 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions on balls thrown 20 yards or more downfield, according to advance metrics cited by 247Sports.
Bennett is ranked 10th of the 14 SEC starting quarterbacks in percentage of pass attempts over 20 yards (14.3 percent), focusing more on short passes where he’s connecting on 72 percent of his third-down throws.
Georgia injury report
OT Owen Condon (unknown): Condon started the opening game at right tackle before being replaced by Warren McClendon.
OG Ben Cleveland (lower body): Georgia has been resting the starting right guard when they can as he battles nagging lower-body ailments. Cleveland has been the highest-graded lineman on the team and not allowed a sack, per Pro Football Focus.
SS Lewis Cine (ankle): Smart said Cine is expected to be able to play in Florida after suffering a sprained ankle in the 14-3 win at Kentucky last Saturday.
QB JT Daniels (knee): Daniels has been working to improve his mobility while recovering from last year’s ACL surgery.
QB Stetson Bennett (hand): Bennett has been playing with an injured hand since the Auburn game.
MLB Quay Walker (neck): The junior starting linebacker left the Kentucky game with an neck injury after an awkward collision with Richard LeCounte while making a tackle.
MLB Monty Rice (foot): Rice didn’t start at Kentucky and has seen limited reps on account of a nagging injury that has slowed him down this season.
WR Arian Smith (knee): The true freshman speedster has been working to get back from a preseason knee injury but has yet to appear in a game.
WR Matt Landers (shoulder): Smart said the junior receiver “should be able to go” in Florida against the Gators after suffering a shoulder injury against Tennessee on Oct. 10 that has kept him out.
NT Jordan Davis (elbow): The star interior defender left the Kentucky game with an elbow injury, later returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling. Smart said he’s hopeful Davis can play with his elbow in a brace.
RB Kenny McIntosh (knee): McIntosh, the No. 3 kick returner in the nation and a versatile, explosive threat in the backfield, practiced last week but did not travel to Kentucky
WR Tommy Bush: Bush has been out since suffering a concussion in a pedestrian accident.
WR George Pickens (upper body): Pickens, the team’s second-leading receiver, did not travel to Kentucky despite practicing last week. Smart said on Monday he continues to rehab his injury.
FS Richard LeCounte: The preseason All-American and team captain suffered a concussion, bruised ribs and shoulder injury in a frightening Halloween Night motorcycle accident in Athens.
DT Julian Rochester: The fifth-year starting defensive tackle suffered an ACL injury at Kentucky and is out for the year.
WR Dominick Blaylock: The sophomore is out for the year, suffering another knee injury in fall camp while trying to practice after last December’s torn ACL in the SEC title game.
DB Kelee Ringo: The 5-star recruit is out for the season with a torn labrum.
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