ATHENS — Kirby Smart didn’t use injuries as an excuse for Georgia’s upset loss to South Carolina on Saturday, but it’s fair to say its significant when two of three game captains can’t play.
The most significant injury in the Bulldogs’ 20-17 overtime loss to South Carolina came to receiver Lawrence Cager.
Cager, a grad-transfer from Miami, has become the most irreplaceable player not named Jake Fromm on the roster.
Cager had come up big in the first half with three catches to convert on third down plays.
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Cager had been doing it with a separated shoulder, Smart said, but on Saturday the Gamecocks were able to knock him out of the game.
“He’s got the separated shoulder he’s been dealing with it for weeks,” Smart said. “It’s hard to get healthy. He goes out there and plays. He doesn’t bang on it during the week but he goes out there and plays on it and he’s just having a hard time getting healthy.”
Tailback Brian Herrien, coming off the best performance of his career, was healthy enough to go to midfield for a coin toss and dress out. But Smart said back spasms limited him to riding the exercise bike during the game.
“He had back spasms and he got them (Friday),” Smart said. “They were going treat him for it and get him out there today. He tried to go, went through warmups but couldn’t get over them. It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t able to play being a senior.”
Redshirt freshman Zamir White ran hard, but he’s understandably still getting a feel for game action after missing more than year of game action on account of two ACL surgeries. White missed some cuts that could have led to big plays.
Justin Shaffer had drawn the past two starts at left guard in place of Solomon Kindley, but a neck sprain forced him out of the game and Kindley was forced back into action at less than 100 percent.
Kindley suffered an ankle injury in the first half of the 23-17 win over Notre Dame on Sept. 21 and didn’t appear to play with the same physicality against a determined South Carolina team.
Defensive back Mark Webb got the start against the Gamecocks, but Smart said he suffered a knee injury early. Divaad Wislon subbed in and got beat by Bryan Edwards on a 46-yard touchdown.
“(Webb) bumped knees on the Hilinski kid’s knee brace,” Smart explained. “They went knee to knee on one of those pressures and the knee brace got him. He’s injured. I don’t know how serious it is. We’ll check into it.”
Smart revealed Tyson Campbell’s injury has been a painful and “delicate” turf toe ailment, and so the 5-star cornerback was unable to play for the third consecutive game.
“He’s been able to run around in practice, he’s just not 100 percent,” Smart said. “That’s a very delicate injury and it’s tough to get over. We’re trying to be patient because you don’t want to come back early from that injury. Turf toe is a tough deal.”
Nose tackle Jordan Davis, who suffered an ankle injury against Tennessee, attempted to play agent South Carolina but was noticeably limping an unable to go.
Receiver Tyler Simmons continues to tough it out and play in a shoulder brace, but for the second time in three games he was responsible for a costly turnover, this time unable to raise his arms sufficiently to catch a pass that came out of his hands and was intercepted in overtime.
Freshman defensive lineman and kick coverage ace Travon Walker had his left arm in a cast and did not play. That took one more talented player out of the defensive front’s rotation.
Kearis Jackson, who began the season as the starting slot receiver, was listed as playing but did not have a catch. Jackson suffered a broken hand in the opening game and has been cleared the past two games.
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