Georgia football injury report for South Carolina

ATHENS, Ga. -- Kirby Smart's sixth team at Georgia is off to a great start. The Bulldogs have two wins in as many tries with one of those coming over Clemson in the Duke's Mayo Classic to start the season. That allowed them to move to No. 2 in the nation in both the coaches and Associated Press Polls. 

UGA blasted UAB 56-7 last week in its home opener, getting five touchdowns through the air from Stetson Bennett in the first half. The Bulldog defense has yet to give up an offensive touchdown while piling up 14 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, and four interceptions through eight quarters. 

But what makes UGA's play thus far in 2021 so impressive is the fact that the Bulldogs just aren't at full strength. They've been missing some key players since preseason camp and others have been limited. Some of those players will return in the very near future while others might be on the bubble to see more action right away. 

Georgia opens SEC play on Saturday with a home clash vs. South Carolina (7 p.m. ET on ESPN), a team that upset the Bulldogs the last time they visited Athens. Below, Dawgs247 breaks down UGA's injury situation (as we know it) going into that game. 

The junior pass catcher is currently with the team and he's dressing out for practice. He hasn't yet been cleared for contact and no one expected that he would at this point. Pickens is, however, running off to the side and continuing to rehab the ACL injury he suffered during spring drills. The fact that he's dressing out is a very good thing for the Bulldogs. It indicates that he's engaged and planning on returning once he gets cleared and ready to play. That clearance probably won't come until October or November at the earliest. The good thing here is that he's played so much football at UGA that once he is cleared, it won't take him long before he's ready to go. 

The redshirt sophomore caught another bad break this week. He suffered a major injury to his upper leg, one that resulted in surgery. He has already undergone a procedure to repair the damage but he'll miss the rest of the 2021 season. Davis is coming off his healthiest season since his junior year of high school after playing in seven of UGA's 10 games in 2020. He is a rock-solid special team player and even earned some snaps on the defensive side late in the season. He had a good spring and preseason camp and was challenging for a spot in the inside linebacker rotation. 

Georgia football injury report for South Carolina

The former four-star prospect got the first start of his young career against Clemson but caught an awful break on UGA's first offensive possession. He suffered an injury to his foot that required surgery and will keep him out for the rest of the 2021 season. After an up-and-down freshman season that saw him deal with multiple injuries and an undisclosed illness, Ratledge made his move during spring drills and earned the first-team nod at right guard for the G-Day game. He held on to that spot throughout the summer and preseason camp, but that all came crashing down in the first quarter vs. Clemson. He's hoping to be cleared in time for spring drills. 

The West Virginia transfer was expected to be a factor at STAR but he has missed the first two games of the 2021 season. He'll almost certainly miss a third. Smart maintained that Smith was  day-to-day coming into the opener vs. Clemson. When asked about Smith this week, Smart said that he's now putting weight on his foot and running but also called him "very doubtful" for the South Carolina game. Injuries like this are tricky because once he's able to go full speed, he'll have to get himself back into shape. Smith, who played in a very different defense at WVU, has also missed valuable reps and install time.

Like Smith, Washington had a minor procedure on his foot early over a couple of  weeks before the start of the season and he won't be available for this game, either. Smart said the same think about Washington that he did about Smith earlier this week, that he's now putting weight on his foot and running. The good news is that he's in his second year and understands the offense. The bad news is that he's a much bigger human and it could take a little longer for him to heal. He, too, will have to work himself back into shape now that he's able to put weight on it but at least he won't have to spend as much time getting back into the flow of the offense or learning what to do. 

Georgia football injury report for South Carolina

Blaylock first suffered a torn ACL in December of 2019. He then experienced the same injury to the same knee in August of 2020. According to Smart, he has cleared that hurdle. Blaylock has been practicing in full for weeks now since gaining clearance from that injury but now he's dealing with something else. Due to an increased work load from running and practicing, Smart says Blaylock is now dealing with a sore hamstring. The sixth-year head coach also says that the hamstring, for now, is a bigger deal than the knee. Once Blaylock is healthy and has returned to form, he'll be back on the field. 

Bennett tossed five touchdowns against UAB because Daniels didn't play at all. The fourth-year junior quarterback is dealing with an oblique injury, one that he sustained prior to the start of the season and aggravated early in the Clemson game. Smart says that Daniels was feeling the injury during the week leading up to the Clemson game and that he might have made it worse on the first play of the game. Daniels got a lot more work this week than he did last week and should be available to play whether he starts or not. We lean toward Bennett getting his second start in as many weeks but sources have told us that Daniels could be the No. 2 guy if the Bulldogs need him. It's also simple logic here. If UGA's medical staff didn't think he could play if needed, he wouldn't have gotten first-team reps this week. 

The speedster from Lakeland, Fla. was on the receiving end of one of Bennett's five touchdowns last week. He also suffered a fairly significant contusion in the victory and we're not yet sure what to expect from him against South Carolina. Smart confirmed that Smith practiced this week, but he also said that the Bulldogs are trying to push him through and get him ready. He's the fastest player on Georgia's team and caught his first career pass last season against South Carolina, a 31-yard touchdown inside Williams-Brice Stadium. It may be a situation where he dresses out for this game and plays if he's needed. 

Georgia football injury report for South Carolina

The senior inside linebacker came into the season battling an undisclosed upper-body injury. He played in the first two games but he left the UAB game with another injury and we're not sure where he's at going into week three. It looked like Walker sustained an injury to his hand or wrist against the Blazers. If that's the case, then he might be able to put a brace or cast on it and play. He's part of a three-man rotation at inside linebacker with Nakobe Dean and Channing Tindall, so the Bulldogs should be able to hold it down without him, but they're better when he's in the lineup. 

Jackson has played in each of Georgia's first two games. He has served as the punt returner in both of those contacts but he's not completely healthy yet. Smart has pointed out how Jackson isn't yet back to his old self after having arthroscopic surgery on his knee over the summer. A return to full speed, however, could be right around the corner. Smart told reporters this week that Jackson looked really good in Monday's practice and that he has been much improved this week. It sounds like the Peach County High School product might find his way into the offensive game plan this week.