ATHENS — This time last year, Todd Gurley was working his way back from a painful knee injury, sustained on the final play of his Georgia career. Things ended well: The St. Louis Rams rookie ran for 1,106 yards and made the Pro Bowl.
So as Nick Chubb approaches this season, set to re-take the field after his own significant knee injury, his former Georgia teammate was asked what advice he would give his fellow star tailback.
“Just think about all that hard work you did. Don’t worry about the knee, trust it and work hard,” Gurley told the AJC’s DawgNation, in an interview to promote Gatorade’s “Beat the Heat” program. Gurley just signed on with the beverage company as a spokesman.
“That’s why you went through the whole process, to make sure the knee is stable,” Gurley said. “So it’s not going to mess up. Just trust in your work that you did for rehab and your training. And I’m sure he will be fine.”
While both sustained knee injuries, they were different. Gurley’s was a clean ACL tear, which doctors at UGA predicted would lead to an easier recovery, and they were proved right. Chubb’s was labeled a “significant” tear, involving multiple ligaments.
But Chubb has healed well enough that he will start out Georgia’s preseason camp with no limitations, though how he’ll be handled in more physical practices and scrimmages is uncertain. What many have said is it will be more mental for Chubb.
For Gurley’s part, though, he said that part of it was no big deal.
“I didn’t even think about it, honestly, at all,” Gurley said. “I was never really hesitant. It came down to just getting out there and playing ball.”
Gurley actually had a chance to talk in person with Chubb recently, at The Opening Nike-sponsored event in Oregon a couple weeks ago. But if rehab and injuries came up, Gurley didn’t say. He said they just talked about football.
Chubb and Sony Michel, the other star tailback, are both questionable for the season opener with injuries.
“I know they’ll be ready for the season and just excited about playing football, like everyone else,” Gurley said.
By “ready for the season,” Gurley meant just being antsy to play. What about Chubb’s injury status, though, does Gurley think he’ll play?
“Yeah I think you’ll have to ask him that,” Gurley said. “We’ll see.”
Look for more from Gurley in another story soon.