ATHENS — Isaiah Wynn was the anchor of the Georgia football team’s offensive line as it won an SEC championship, the Rose Bowl and came within a play of winning the national championship. And he did it while not fully healthy.
Wynn tore his labrum on Nov. 18 against Kentucky and put off surgery until the end of the season.
“Yeah, it was [limiting]. But shoot, we had a heck of a season so why let that stop us from getting to where we needed to go,” Wynn said on Wednesday.
Wynn estimated he played the rest of the season at 85 percent. It’s common for players to play through a labrum tear, which sounds worse than it seems. The labrum is a piece of cartilage attached to the edge of the shoulder.
“It’s kind of harder to block with that because you’re always getting it jammed back,” Wynn said. “But it’s good.”
Wynn and Georgia kept the injury under wraps until the end of the season. He played four full games with it: the wins over Georgia Tech, Auburn in the SEC Championship Game, Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl and the overtime loss to Alabama in the National Championship Game.
“He’s got a great toughness,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. “I don’t want to make a big deal about it for Isaiah — there’s a lot of guys on our team — Trent [Thompson] dealt with labrums. We’ve got a lot of guys with labrums. It’s an injury that’s very common in football. We see it more in high school where guys are coming in and having the surgery done before they even get here. I had it done.
“But it’s one of those things where Isaiah being an offensive lineman he’s constantly got his hands outside his framework when a guy gets away, and it makes you vulnerable to that injury. But it’s also something that sometimes you can’t make worse, you’ve just got to push through, and, boy, he’s a tough guy. Because I would see it come out, see it slip, and he would keep right on playing.”
Wynn said he heard from teams at both tackle and guard. He started at guard for most of his sophomore and junior seasons, then moved permanently to left tackle for his final season. Things went better for Georgia when he was at one position: the Bulldogs were 19-2 with Wynn at left tackle.
Some projections have Wynn being selected in the first round of the NFL draft next month.