ATHENS -- Barring a setback, Malcolm Mitchell will be back on the field for Georgia on Saturday.
The freshman, who still leads the team in receiving yards despite a hamstring injury three games ago, has been running and cutting in practice and expects to play.
Im encouraged. (Wednesday) was a good day, Mitchell said. I opened up a little more. I started cutting a little more. Im just waiting to see how it goes.
Rather than treating it gingerly, Mitchell said he was gradually testing the hamstring to make sure it could withstand playing in a game.
Im testing it. If theres a time to test it, its now, so I know Im ready, Mitchell said.
Head coach Mark Richt said he was convinced Mitchell will play. That would bring Georgias receiving corps back to almost full strength and give the Bulldogs their top downfield threat.
Fellow receiver Tavarres King said he sensed in Wednesdays practice that Mitchell was back to full speed.
I tapped (assistant) coach (Tony) Ball, and I was like, Hey man, the boy is back, King said. Weve been playing well without Malcolm, and to throw him back there with us, its just another gem.
Mitchell hurt the hamstring during a long pass play at Tennessee. He missed the following weeks game against Vanderbilt, then after the bye week, he tried to return for the Florida showdown.
But at that Mondays practice he hurt the hamstring again.
I think I took it a little too fast last time, came out trying to sprint the first day, Mitchell said. I re-aggravated it pretty bad.
In Georgias first six games, Mitchell accounted for 25 catches and a team-high 438 yards, along with three touchdowns.
But the Bulldogs got good performances in his absence from fellow freshmen Chris Conley and Michael Bennett and junior Marlon Brown.
All of them are good, Mitchell said. Im just a little help. I aint too much.
Richt and Missouri
Richt volunteered an interesting fact when asked about Missouris addition to the SEC. Richt interviewed at that school in 2000, before it hired Gary Pinkel and Richt took the Georgia job.
At the time, Richt was Florida States offensive coordinator. He said he didnt visit the Missouri campus but interviewed off-site.
My wife and I thought a lot about going to Columbia, what that city was like and what it might be like for our young family. We thought it might be a good fit for us, Richt said. Watching from afar, I think Coach Pinkel has done a phenomenal job there. Were glad to have them join our league.
Outside linebacker Jarvis Jones, the teams top defensive player, has been limited in practice the past few days because of an MCL sprain. But Richt said it was precautionary.
We limited him to scout work. But hes fine, Richt said. Hes better off on Wednesday this week than he was Wednesday last week and he played last week.