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Georgia Bulldogs defensive lineman Jalen Carter, center, is removed from a portion of the field where Missouri Tigers players were warming up before their NCAA Football game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium, Saturday, October 1, 2022, in Columbia, Mo. Carter and a few other players had a scuffle with Missouri players. (Jason Getz / Jason.Getz@ajc.com)

Kirby Smart shares Jalen Carter injury update: ‘He wanted to go back but he couldn’t’

Jalen Carter left Saturday’s game against Missouri after taking a hit to his left knee early in the second quarter.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart told reporters after the game that it isn’t an ACL injury but rather an MCL injury as far as he knows at this point.

“It’s a knee, but I don’t now how bad it is yet. He tried to go back, he couldn’t,” Smart said. “We think it’s an MCL, which is probably good news. Tough, too, because it was a tough block, a tough, tough cut block that they do well. He wanted to go back, but he couldn’t go back.”

Related: Jalen Carter leaves game after questionable hit by Missouri offensive lineman

Without Carter for the entire second half, the Georgia defense found a way to stand tall. The Bulldogs gave up two field goals, keeping Missouri out of the end zone for the final 30 minutes of action.

Removing from a 63-yard run, which came after Carter exited the game, Missouri finished the night with 39 rushing yards on 20 carries.

“He has a humongous presence on this team,” Nolan Smith said of Carter. “And I’m not going to say we don’t need Jalen Carter but it was good that we were able to step up. It’s next-man up like we always say.”

Smart mentioned that several other defenders were banged up throughout the game including linebackers Smael Mondon and Trezmen Marshall. Carter’s replacement, Warren Brinson, also picked up a groin injury.

The Bulldogs got the stops they needed to, especially late in the game. After Harrison Mevis booted home a 56-yard field goal to open the fourth quarter, Georgia forced punts on Missouri’s final two possessions. The Tigers ended the night with a three-and-out and Georgia responded by salting the final 3:39 minutes of game action away.

Georgia takes on Auburn at home next week at 3:30 p.m. ET. The Bulldogs will be tasked with beating the Tigers without Carter in all likelihood.

“It’s going to be really hard next week, too,” Smart said. “And it’s going to be really hard the next week. And it’s going to be really hard two weeks after that. It just doesn’t change. You guys may think it’s going to be easy at some point, but I promise you, it’s going to be really hard in the SEC every week.”

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