ATHENS — JT Daniels continues to be limited in practice, but the Georgia quarterback has made some progress in the last week, according to Coach Kirby Smart.
“He hasn’t been able to do a whole lot,” Smart said. “A little more than he did the week before.”
Daniels has missed the past two games for the No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (6-0. 4-0 SEC) on account of a strained lat muscle.
The second-year transfer from USC has played nine of 24 possible quarters this season on account of injuries believed to be related to an accidental hit he took to his pec muscle in the team’s Aug. 21 scrimmage.
Georgia plays host to No. 11-ranked Kentucky (6-0. 4-0) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium in a game that could determine the SEC East Division champion.
“He’s a competitor he wants to be playing ... He wants to be out there throwing the ball around,” UGA safety and team captain Lewis Cine said on Tuesday. “I’d definitely be frustrated, and I’m pretty sure he is.”
Stetson Bennett has started in place of Daniels in wins over Arkansas (37-0) and Auburn (34-10) and would get the start if Daniels continues to be limited or is unable to play. Georgia has an off week the following Saturday before an Oct. 30 game in Florida against the Gators in Jacksonville.
Smart said he would not discuss any hypotheticals, where Daniels’ health was concerned.
“Right now I’m making sure that we have a healthy quarterback and keeping our quarterbacks healthy,” Smart said, “by keeping them upright and protected.”
Daniels was dealing with a strained oblique muscle when he missed the second game of the season, against UAB. He returned to play in Game Three against South Carolina, and again in Game Four against Vanderbilt.
But then a strained lat muscle — which is the same injured Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott suffered in the preseason — flared up and has kept Daniels’ sidelined.
Smart said before the Auburn game last Saturday that Daniels was throwing pain-free, but he clarified on Monday that there are still limits.
“He got to throw a lot on Monday, so Monday he threw 30 or 40 balls and he got upwards of 30 yards, felt pretty good, took some snaps, " Smart said. “Today (Tuesday) he probably didn’t do as much, so he was a little more limited, he took some snaps, threw the ball some.”
Smart shared that head trainer Ron Courson continues to monitor Daniels closely.
“We’re going off Ron’s protocol,” Smart said. “He has him on a pitch count ….
“We check and see if he swells or has any soreness after it, and the good news is, he hasn’t had any soreness for the last two days, not extensive soreness, and we were able to go back the next day and continue to get some (reps).”
From Bulldawg Illustrated