Georgia's Bennett suffers season-ending knee injury

semerson@macon.comOctober 3, 2012 

ATHENS - Georgia has suffered its first major injury of the 2012 season.

Michael Bennett, the team's leading receiver through five games, is out for the remainder of the season after tearing the ACL in his right knee during Tuesday's practice.

UGA head athletic trainer Ron Courson, through a team spokesman, said Bennett would undergo surgery at a date to be determined.

The injury happened on the final play of Tuesday's practice, according to head coach Mark Richt, while Bennett was engaged in a block.

"As he was moving, no one ran into him, no one rolled into him, nothing like that, his knee bucked. And there it was," Richt said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference.

Bennett, a redshirt sophomore, emerged this season as one of the team's top weapons on offense. He is leading the team with 24 catches for 345 yards and four touchdowns.

The only consolation for the Bulldogs, as they prepare to face No. 6 South Carolina, is that they are fairly deep at receiver: Five different players have caught a touchdown, and that doesn't include Malcolm Mitchell - who has moved back full-time to offense - or Chris Conley - a sophomore whose role had diminished a bit this season.

Mitchell and Conley's role should be increased greatly now. Mitchell played cornerback for the first four games of the season, but had moved back to offense with the defense at full strength. Mitchell (six catches for 74 yards this season) was the team's leading receiver last year.

"Now, especially with Bennett's injury we're going to be using him more offensively," Richt said. "But that was the plan last week."

Conley (four catches for 46 yards) emerged as a reliable receiver last year, along with Bennett.

The team also has two senior starters: Marlon Brown (17 catches for 272 yards, 3 touchdowns) and Tavarres King (16 catches for 307 yards, three touchdowns). Junior Rantavious Wooten (six catches, 99 yards, 1 TD) could also see a greater role.

But Bennett had emerged as one of the team's top threats, not only in the possession receiver role he had as a freshman, but in all phases of the passing game.

"God has a plan for me and everything happens for a reason," Bennett posted on his Twitter account on Tuesday. "Get ready for a historic season Dawg nation. Our boys are gonna get it done!"

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