ATHENS — Not much has changed in the status regarding star tight end Brock Bowers following his abscen from Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

When Kirby Smart spoke to reporters on Sunday, Smart did take the time to explain how close Bowers came to playing and why Georgia ultimately held out the star tight end.

“Brock was probably the closest to being able to go of those guys,” Smart said on a conference call with reporters. “Just didn’t feel as good as he had. He was a little sore. We wanted to be able to use him situationally or see what he could do if he felt comfortable with it, and just didn’t think that he could go. Nothing about who we’re playing or anything else. He’s got to be able to go compete at a high level and be able to feel good about what he’s doing. We didn’t feel that he had that last night.”

Bowers has now missed three games this season due to injury. The Georgia tight end missed games against Florida and Missouri following tightrope surgery on his ankle.

Despite missing time, Bowers is still Georgia’s receiving leader in terms of yards and touchdowns on the season.

Nick Saban knows very well how good Bowers is, as he caught 10 passes for 121 yards and a touchdown as a freshman in the SEC championship game. He also caught a touchdown pass on what was Georgia’s final offensive play of the game in the 2022 National Championship, a game the Bulldogs won.

Oscar Delp had a strong game on Saturday. while he caught only a single pass for 16 yards, his downfield blocking helped spring multiple explosive plays.

“Oscar is a tough dude,” Smart said. “Love the way he works and practices.”

Elsewhere for Georgia, Smart didn’t go into detail as for the status of injured wide receivers Ladd McConkey and Rara Thomas. Unlike Bowers, neither player dressed out on Saturday.

Smart shared with reporters that McConkey has been frustrated by the injuries he’s picked up this season, as the wide receiver has missed six games with back and ankle injuries.

As for offensive lineman Tate Ratledge, Smart was more optimistic.

“He maybe could’ve played, but he was not 100%. And we’re hoping to get him back,” Smart said. “As far as the other guys go, it’s gonna be, to me, day-to-day. I mean, we just don’t know anything. We certainly don’t know anymore today because we haven’t done anything.”

On the Alabama side, Saban provided an update on leading rusher Jase McClellan. The Alabama running back was spotted on crutches after the game and had 15 carries for 66 yards during the game.

“Well, he’s, you know, had a little foot injury all year long. He tweaked it during the game,” Saban said. “He’ll be day-to-day this week but I can’t tell you how much progress it’ll make. Probably the next 48 hours or so will tell us if he makes the kind of progress he needs to be able to practice some and play in a game.”

If McClellan can’t go, Alabama will lean on running back Roydell Williams and quarterback Jalen Millroe in the running game. McClellan has 803 rushing yards on the year and 6 rushing touchdowns.

Georgia and Alabama will meet on Saturday in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta for the 2023 SEC Championship. The game is set for a 4 p.m. ET start.

Kirby Smart talks Georgia football injuries