Georgia football injury updates: WR Dominick Blaylock ‘close’ to returning for games

Mike Griffith,

DawgNation Staff

Georgia football injury updates: WR Dominick Blaylock ‘close’ to returning for games

ATHENS — Georgia receiver Dominick Blaylock could be back on the field sooner than later, based on an optimistic update from Coach Kirby Smart on Tuesday afternoon.

“He’s gaining confidence in it, like today, he was out running routes, actually on the scout team,” Smart said. “(He) did everything against the defense so we could get an even better look. He’s done everything.”

That said, Smart indicated that despite that activity, Blaylock will not be ready to play when the No. 5 Bulldogs meet No. 3 Clemson at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.

“You say, ‘Why can’t he go play,’ well, he’s still gaining confidence, getting his stamina back,” Smart said. " He hasn’t been able to rep with our one and two offense.”

But Smart said the reps Blaylock has gotten with the scout team have been impressive.

“I thought he made a couple of plays out there today that were good plays and really challenged the first and second defense,” Smart said. “I can’t tell you when he’ll be out there, but he’s close.”

Blaylock first injured his left ACL in the 2019 SEC Championship Game loss to LSU before working feverishly to get himself prepared for the 2020 season.

Instead, Blaylock suffered a tear to the same ACL in a non-contact drill on Aug. 27, 2020, and he has been working to get back again ever since.

RELATED: Dominick Blaylock injured in practice, details

“Dominick has done an incredible job of rehab, he has worked really hard,” Smart said. “It’s been a tough year on him; thinking about going through what he went through, he fought all the way back, he re-tears the same ACL, and now it’s over a year from the time he tore it.

“He’s gaining confidence.”

The Georgia offense will get a significant boost once the healthy and confident version of Blaylock is on the field.

A precise route runner with the strength and speed to separate, Blaylock is the sort of receiver who would thrive playing alongside an accurate quarterback like JT Daniels.

Blaylock had 18 catches for 315 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2019 before his first ACL tear.

Smart said center Warren Ericson, who has a cast on his hand, continues to practice. Smart, however, did not specify where Ericson is practicing, so he’ll likely find his way into the rotation at guard with Sedrick Van Pran handling snapping duties.

Linebacker Quay Walker denied reports that he’s been banged up this fall.

“I haven’t had any injury at all,” Walker said. “I’ve been practicing like everyone else, 100 percent like everyone else.”

Injury/availability report

WR Arian Smith, probable

• Smith is arguably the fastest man in college football, but he missed part of offseason workouts to run track, and he’s had an ankle injury he played through in fall camp.

CB Jalen Kimber, probable

• Kimber is a strong cover man and capable open-field tackler. Missed a scrimmage with an injury, which could give way to Kelee Ringo or Ameer Speed to start opposite of Derion Kendrick.

OC/OG Warren Ericson, probable

• Ericson may not snap with a cast on his hand, but Smart said he’s back practicing. Ericson is more likely to play guard than center.

LB Quay Walker, probable

• The bumps and bruises that have at times slowed Walker don’t amount to enough to keep him out of this game.

DB David Daniel, questionable

• Daniel’s parents said he was “ok” after getting hit by a car on campus last week, but the cuts and bruises he suffered might be enough to bring that into question. Smart has yet to address the situation.

RELATED: Georgia player struck by car on campus in scary incident

DB Tykee Smith, doubtful

• Big loss for Georgia at the star position if Smith can’t go, because tackling in space is a big key to beating Clemson. Latavious Brinii next man up at the star.

TE Darnell Washington, doubtful

• Dominant during the offseason, Washington is a big Red Zone target who is missed. Washington, at 6-7, 278 pounds, is an athletic freak who can change games. Clemson dodged a bullet if he’s out as expected.

WR Dominick Blaylock, out

• Torn ACL last August, Georgia will be careful not to rush Blaylock back. Smart said he was running straight-line drills at last report. Did not appear in either scrimmage.

WR George Pickens, out

• Torn ACL last March, not expected back until late October, at the very earliest. There’s still a chance Pickens has played his last game with the Bulldogs.

WR Arik Gilbert, out

• Gilbert is not with the team right now as he addresses “personal issues” with the support from Smart and his teammates. Gilbert never really got into sync with the offense, so while his upside remains high, the impact of him not playing is marginal.