ATHENS — Georgia defensive lineman Michael Barnett could return before the end of spring practice after suffering a “slight dislocation” of one of his knees, according to coach Kirby Smart.
“We think he’s going to be fine,” Smart said. “He’s going to be back possibly by the end of spring. But may not make it back by the end of spring.”
Barnett, a redshirt junior, played off the bench last season, seeing increasing action as the season progressed. He was competing this spring to remain part of a rotation that loses John Atkins and Trenton Thompson, but does return top-level players, including Jonathan Ledbetter, Tyler Clark and Julian Rochester.
Barnett is the second known injury this spring for Georgia, which also lost freshman cornerback Divaad Wilson to a more serious knee injury last week during practice.
Smart called Wilson’s injury “tough” but isn’t ruling him out for the 2018 season. And in so doing he expressed even more optimism in freshman tailback Zamir White — who tore an ACL late last year — being able to play this year.
“We still think he’s going to be able to play this year. It’s not a matter of being out,” Smart said of Wilson. “There’s a lot of guys that come back from that and are able to play. He’s a bright kid, a really hard-working kid, and we think he’ll heal fast. If he’s at Zamir’s pace we should hopefully be able to get him back.”
White is a 5-star recruit from Laurinburg, N.C., who enrolled early and has been suiting up for practice and occasionally participating in non-contact drills. If healthy, he would be a factor in a Georgia backfield that lost Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, but returns sophomore D’Andre Swift. The team also has juniors Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield and incoming freshman James Cook.