BOGART — Nick Chubb spoke to the media for the first time since his gruesome knee injury on Friday night.
And the one-time Heisman Trophy candidate had a heartfelt message for UGA fans.
“I know a lot of people are worried about me and that they know I was hurt bad,” Chubb told DawgNation. “I just want to tell them that I’m all right and I’m doing well and I will be back stronger than ever next year.”
Chubb made his way around on crutches while watching his former high school football team, Cedartown, play in the state playoffs on Friday night.
The star running back said that initially the injury, suffered on the first play of the Tennessee game earlier this month, was tough for him.
“Mentally it was just hard,” Chubb said. “I’m a very positive person. I didn’t think something like this could happen to me, but it did. So I am just getting over that hump. I’m ready to get back to work now and get ready for next year.”
Chubb doesn’t have a date in mind yet for his return.
“Not yet,” said Chubb, who will be at Saturday’s Auburn game.
On Friday, Chubb was a celebrity while on the sidelines at the playoff game. He smiled while taking photographs with fans. The opposing team’s student section even shouted out tribute chants to Chubb.
This is what happens when a Heisman Trophy contender hits a bump in the road on his way to setting UGA records.
“All of the support from everyone has been great,” Chubb said. “Everyone has been so nice. I’ve had a lot of support from everyone, but my hometown, especially of Cedartown, have sent me a lot of cards from all the elementary schools. People have been reaching out to me.
“It is just great to have that support to everyone. I haven’t responded to anyone yet to thank them, but I am going to sooner or later. I’m just proud of my city and how they are in the state playoffs and wanted to be here to support them.”
The injury has also given him a dose of perspective about the UGA fan base.
“When I was playing everyone was obviously for me for what I did on the field,” Chubb said. “But now nothing has changed. If anything, I have gotten even more support from people. DawgNation is a real great fan base and they have given me a whole lot of support.”
The knee injury suffered by former UGA star Todd Gurley wasn’t the same as what Chubb aims to bounce back from, but seeing what his old teammate has done in the NFL has also helped him.
“To see him bounce back as strong as he did was impressive,” Chubb said. “Hopefully I can bounce back as strong as he has.”
The elementary schools in Chubb’s hometown of Polk County gave their students an assignment: That was to create a get well soon card for Chubb. They did.
“I wish you could have seen the one that one of our first graders made for him,” Cedartown High School principal Darrell Wetherington said. “It said something like get well to future NFL Hall of Famer Nick Chubb.”
There were approximately 4,000 cards delivered to his mother. Chubb said he really appreciated the love.
“Everyone reached out to me and was offering their support,” Chubb said. “It was the same message to trust in God. He’s going to protect me. He’s going to heal me. Only he can do that.”
Jeff Sentell covers UGA recruiting for AJC.com and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Follow him on Twitter for the latest on who’s on their way to play Between the Hedges.