LB James DeLoach has thumb surgery, still available for opener

semerson@macon.comAugust 5, 2013 

Georgia outside linebacker James DeLoach.

EVAN STICHLER — UGA sports communications

ATHENS - The injuries are piling up for Georgia's defense, though there doesn't yet appear too much reason for concern.

James DeLoach, a first-team Sam (outside) linebacker will have surgery on his thumb on Monday, according to UGA. DeLoach suffered a strained ulnar collateral ligament during practice on Sunday, and was wearing a brace on his left hand during Monday's practice, which he watched from the side.

But DeLoach is expected to be available for the Aug. 31 season opener at Clemson, according to Georgia. In fact he should return to practice within the week, according to head coach Mark Richt, and practice with his hand wrapped up.

"It'll probably be a couple days, but it won't be a long time," Richt said. "It won't be a full week, or two weeks, or anything like that."

Strangely enough, that wasn't the only Bulldog needing thumb surgery: Defensive end Davin Bellamy will also need the procedure on Monday after fracturing his thumb. Ballamy also sustained the injury on Sunday, according to the team, and like DeLoach he should be available for the opener.

The secondary, meanwhile, has become rather injury-riddled, with five freshmen on the injury report: Freshmen Shaq Wiggins and Quincy Mauger were riding exercise bikes rather than practicing with the rest of the team during the early portion practice.

Freshman free safety Tray Matthews continues to practice while wearing a non-contact jersey. Matthews has a shoulder sprain, injured during a drill. Despite all the injuries, Richt indicated they're not going to pull back on physical practice. The team will hold its first preseason scrimmage on Wednesday.

The secondary is already without two other freshmen: Cornerback Reggie Wilkerson (knee surgery) and safety Paris Bostick (turf toe) are out for the season and redshirting.

Meanwhile, today's quotable Mike Bobo moment from practice:

"A.J. Turman's gonna run over somebody," Bobo said of his freshman tailback. "Might be a linemen. But he's gonna run over somebody."

LeMay and Dantzler

Richt was asked about veterans Christian LeMay and Watts Dantzler, who have each gotten off to a good start this month.

"Christian, when he does it right it's pretty," Richt said of the quarterback. "It's just a matter of continuing to get a total grasp and comfort level with everything we're doing."

Richt said Dantzler is among the backups from last year, along with tackle Xzavier Ward, who have pushed themselves into the mix. Dantzler is getting those first-team reps at right guard in place of starter Chris Burnette, who the team is easing back in after shoulder surgery.

More freshmen praise

Richt reiterated the praise that veteran players have had for newcomers like Leonard Floyd, Shaq Wiggins and Brendan Langley. But Richt also wanted to mention Reggie Carter, who is also a freshman but unlike those three was here in the spring.

"As a true freshman he's really getting a lot of second-team snaps, learning what to do," Richt said. "Real solid football player."

And speaking of inside linebackers, Richt said freshmen Tim Kimbrough and Johnny O'Neal have had some good moments.

"Those guys are very physical, thumper-type linebackers," Richt said.

More updates after practice.

Some videos from practice, and again, UGA has asked that practice audio not be broadcast, so we have dubbed in some different tunes.

Follow Seth Emerson at @sethemerson.

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