Georgia wide receiver Kearis Jackson (10) during the Bulldogs' game with Georgia Tech at Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field in Atlanta, Ga., on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Tony Walsh

Georgia, Alabama monitoring injury status of key offensive players leading up to SEC Championship Game

ATHENS — Georgia and Alabama might have key offensive players sidelined or limited when the teams play in the SEC Championship Game.

The No. 1-ranked Bulldogs (12-0) and the No. 3-ranked Crimson Tide (11-1) hope to be as close to full strength as possible when they meet at 4 p.m. in Mercedes-Benz Stadium next Saturday.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said on Sunday night that redshirt senior tailback Brian Robinson Jr. has a “lower body pulled muscle” and will be evaluated during the course of the week.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart didn’t share any more information on Sunday about receiver and punt returner Kearis Jackson, a team captain who exited the Georgia Tech game on Saturday with a rib injury.

Robinson, the SEC’s third-leading rusher (1,016 yards), led Alabama with 71 hard-fought yards on 16 carries in the Tide’s 24-22, four-overtime win at Auburn on Saturday night.

The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Robinson also had 3 catches for 29 yards. He exited the game at the 11:42 mark of the third quarter after ripping off a 37-yard run.

Alabama turned to 6-0, 215-pound Trey Sanders in Robinson’s absence, and the sophomore had 10 carries for 23 yards.

Jackson had been coming up to full speed prior to the rib injury, having been somewhat limited throughout the season after undergoing a procedure on his knee last summer.

Jackson ranks fourth in the SEC with 9.2 yards per punt return, having brought 20 back this season for the Bulldogs including two for 20 yards in the 45-0 win over the Yellow Jackets.

Redshirt freshman Ladd McConkey replaced Jackson on the punt return unit.

Jackson, a 6-0, 200-pound redshirt junior, also ranks sixth on the team with 13 catches for 174 yards this season. Jackson’s numbers are relatively low because his time at the position was limited early while he played his way back into shape after the knee surgery.

Georgia’s top three pass catchers this season -- Brock Bowers, McConkey and Adonai Mitchell -- did not have a catch last season.

Jackson led UGA with 514 yards on 36 catches last season and was Stetson Bennett’s go-to target through the first six games of the season.

Jackson had 2 catches for 23 yards in the 41-24 loss to the Tide last season and returned two kicks for 56 yards.

The Bulldogs have also been playing without their best offensive lineman, team captain Jamaree Salyer.

Salyer, who started the first eight games at left tackle, has missed the past four contests with a foot injury and his status is questionable.