ATHENS — While Georgia could be without its leading tackler for some of spring practice, Roquan Smith’s injury does not appear to be long-term.
That’s according to several people close to the player and the team, who indicated that Smith, a rising junior inside linebacker, could return later in spring practice.
“He might be limited to begin with. As far as being out (for spring), I don’t think so,” said Roy Yoder, who served as a mentor to Smith in high school and spoke to a family member about the injury.
The team has not announced any injury, and has not been revealing injuries this offseason. Dawgpost.com, which first reported Smith’s injury on Monday, said it was to a pectoral (chest) muscle.
Smith’s mother, Shaquana Thomas, said in a brief conversation that she would leave it to her son or head coach Kirby Smart to talk about the injury. But she said her son is “doing well, and it’ll be fine.”
Georgia is expected to begin spring practice after UGA’s spring break ends around March 12, but hasn’t announced a definite start date.
Smith led Georgia with 95 tackles last year, starting most of the season at inside linebacker. He also forced two fumbles and had five tackles-for-loss.
Georgia has plenty of depth at inside linebacker, with rising junior Natrez Patrick and rising senior Reggie Carter both back, along with Juwan Taylor (who will be a junior), Jaleel Laguins (sophomore), Tae Crowder (sophomore) and early enrollee Monty Rice.
The Bulldogs will definitely be without at least one projected starter on defense this spring, with lineman Trent Thompson withdrawing from classes after a recent medical scare. The only starter definitely gone from last year’s defense is Maurice Smith, the nickel back.