ATHENS — Kirby Smart remains hopeful Georgia football stars Jordan Davis and George Pickens can play in Saturday’s pivotal showdown in Florida.
The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (4-1) play the No. 8-ranked Gators (3-1) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in Jacksonville.
Georgia has been ravaged with injuries, an eye-popping 15 players in its projected 22-man offensive and defensive two-deep depth chart having already missed time on account of injuries.
Senior preseason All-American safety and team captain Richard LeCounte, arguably the team’s MVP, is out indefinitely with injuries sustained in his Halloween Night motorcycle crash.
Davis, a 6-foot-6, 340-pound nose tackle who suffered an elbow injury last Saturday at Kentucky, has been the anchor of the SEC’s top rush defense the past two seasons.
“Jordan is still day to day, we’re hopeful he’l be able to go,” Smart said on the SEC Coaches Teleconference on Wednesday. “Obviously (Tuesday) we didn’t practice, so there’s not a lot there, but we’re trying to get him back even if it’s just for a role.
“We think he can play a role in the game, so hopefully he’s able to do that.”
Smart talked about how important Davis’ presence was before the Alabama game three weeks ago, saying “It’s extremely important. It’s huge, because the movement in the middle. If I had about three Jordan Davises, I’d feel a lot better.”
Now, Georgia has none, and fifth-year senior starting defensive tackle Julian Rochester is also out.
Of Pickens, the team’s Sugar Bowl MVP and arguably most talented, Smart said it could come down to his pain tolerence.
Pickens didn’t travel with the team to Kentucky and has been rehabilitating this week.
“He practiced the other day, and we didn’t get to do much yesterday, and he did what he did the week before,” Smart said. “It’s just going to be a pain tolerance deal, and we’re hopeful he’s able to play.
“We need him to be at his best for us to be where we need to be offensively.”
OT Owen Condon (unknown): Condon started the opening game at right tackle before being replaced by Warren McClendon.
OG Ben Cleveland (lower body): Georgia as 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 last year’s ACL surgery.
RB Kenny McIntosh (knee): McIntosh, the No 3 kick returned in the nation and a versatile, explosive threat in the backfield, practiced last week but did not travel to Kentucky.
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 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.
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.
WR Arian Smith: The true freshman speedster has been working to get back from a preseason knee injury but has yet to appear in a game.
WR Tommy Bush: Bush has been out since being involved in a pedestrian accident and suffering a concussion.
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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