Justin Scott-Wesley ‘undecided’ on playing, per high school coach

Justin Scott-Wesley after his ACL injury at Tennessee in 2013. (AJC/Jason Getz.)

Rudy’s Blog Player

ATHENS — Justin Scott-Wesley is still weighing whether he will end his football career, the Georgia receiver’s high school coach said on Tuesday night.

Dondrial Pinkins, who coached Scott-Wesley at Mitchell-Baker High School, said his former player was “undecided” when he spoke to him on Tuesday night.

“Last week he was moreso leaning towards shutting it down, and had mentioned that he was gonna be done and not coming back. I spoke with him again today, and it was probably within the last hour, that right now he’s not sure,” Pinkins said. “I think he’s kind of retracted it, and maybe wants to come back, and play it out, and see how that knee feels. But I spoke with him today and he just told me he’s still thinking about it.”

“He just told me that right now he’s trying to deal with the issue and he’s gonna make the best decision for himself when that time comes.”

Scott-Wesley sprained his right knee during practice on Aug. 17. It does not require surgery, Pinkins confirmed. But this is the third issue with the knee and Scott-Wesley is worried about coming back full speed.

“He’s just basically saying that he’s dealt with a few injuries and he’s never really been 100 percent,” said Pinkins, the former South Carolina quarterback who is now the coach at Pelham High School. “He’s kind of been playing through some pain the last year. Recently he’s been practicing through some pain. And he just said that before he makes this decision he really wants to find out how his body is going to react to this recovery process, and make sure that he’s able to perform before he jumps back out and ends up in the same situation.”

Scott-Wesley was at Monday’s practice in street clothes and acted as a student assistant coach. That night he posted on social media that “when one door closes, another opens! That’s how God works! Blessed for the opportunity to learn and teach! #CoachMeCoach.”

But Scott-Wesley could keep the door open to playing, even if he doesn’t return to practice right away.

This isn’t the NFL, where a player must be placed on injured reserve in order to open a roster spot for someone else. Scott-Wesley’s scholarship is good this season no matter what, so he could hold out the option to return, especially if later in the season his knees feel better and the team needs him.

“Exactly,” Pinkins said. “And I think it’s part of a rehab process. Him staying around the team and doing what he can at the time, which with him being injured he may be limited. But as the knee starts to feel better maybe he’ll gradually work back in, and if the opportunity presents itself if he’s capable of getting back on the field and playing, it’s kind of hard at that age to walk away.”

Two other Georgia receivers said after Tuesday’s practice that Scott-Wesley had not told them of his plans.

“I’ve known Justin since high school,” said junior Kenneth Towns, who is from Albany, a half-hour from Scott-Wesley’s hometown of Camila. “He’s gonna help us out in each and every way. Justin, he wants everyone to do well, so if he can’t go right now he’s gonna help out all the young receivers. Even the old receivers, just giving us knowledge.”

“While he’s going through what he’s going through it’s good to see that he’s still out there with us, and still trying to be with us regardless,” junior receiver Reggie Davis said.

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