ATHENS — There are only two Georgia players who are certain to miss Saturday’s spring game, and they’re the same ones who have been out all five weeks: Inside linebacker Roquan Smith (pectoral muscle) and defensive lineman Trent Thompson (shoulder and medical issue).
So the good news for the Bulldogs is they have apparently survived the first 14 practices/scrimmages with minimal injuries. Though there are several others who may not be able to play.
Tight end Jeb Blazevich (knee) and offensive tackle Ben Cleveland (undisclosed injury) are uncertain to play, head coach Kirby Smart said after Thursday’s practice. Neither has been practicing this week.
There’s also receiver Riley Ridley, who has slowly worked his way back from a foot injury that knocked him out of the Liberty Bowl on Dec. 30. Ridley has been practicing in limited form this week. Smart said that Ridley may only play Saturday during some situational seven-on-seven drills before the actual scrimmage.
“It’s really important he doesn’t go through all spring without breaking a huddle, hearing a call, knowing what to do. I think that can set you back when you don’t do that,” Smart said. “We need him from a rep standpoint. He’s one of our better wideouts. So we don’t want to put him at any risk of injury, moreso than there is already.”
But a couple other players who suffered recent injuries look good to go: Freshman defensive back Deangelo Gibbs (shoulder) and tight end Isaac Nauta (shoulder). Gibbs is of particular interest because he’s a freshman competing for playing time.
Smart said he left it up to head athletic trainer Ron Courson to clear players, and then decides how much to use them. It’s not a matter of simply holding out players because it’s “only” the spring game, the coach said.
“I don’t demean the value of the game, and say (Oh don’t play them it’s just G-Day). If that’s the case, then why do we play it?” Smart said. “We hold everybody out, then it creates a negative for the rest of your team. I’ve been a part of places where when guys get held out of scrimmages, (people say), Well why is he held out of a scrimmage.”
G-Day is Saturday. Georgia’s spring game kicks off at 2 p.m. and will be televised on SEC Network.