UGA Football

Georgia has managed to stay relatively healthy

Malkom Parrish, who missed the first three games of the season due to a broken foot, recorded an interception against South Carolina.
Malkom Parrish, who missed the first three games of the season due to a broken foot, recorded an interception against South Carolina. Georgia Sports Communications

Georgia has found itself in a fortunate position on the injury front.

The Bulldogs are over 10 weeks into the season and relatively healthy. Sure, just about every player is dealing with his own share of minor ailments. But Georgia hasn’t suffered a season-ending injury or had a player out for a prolonged period of time.

Head coach Kirby Smart credited strength and conditioning coordinator Scott Sinclair and director of sports medicine Ron Courson for why the Bulldogs aren’t dealing with many severe injuries at this time of the season. 

He also chalked the lack of an injury bug up to good fortune.

“You’ve got to practice smart but you’ve got to practice physical,” Smart said. “And some of it has been luck. You’ve got to have some luck on your side in preventing injuries, and we have been very fortunate.”

That stated, Georgia hasn’t been immune to injuries.

Georgia was without defensive tackle Trenton Thompson for games against Vanderbilt and Missouri due to a sprained MCL. Defensive end David Marshall and receiver Jayson Stanley missed the Missouri game due to injuries.

Cornerback Malkom Parrish missed the first three games of the season due to a broken foot.

And of course, quarterback Jacob Eason injured his knee in the season opener against Appalachian State. He has since returned and is available, but has been Georgia’s backup quarterback since he was cleared for contact. 

A preventative measure Georgia has used has been to analyze how much on-field running players are doing in practice and in games. The program uses a GPS device, which is placed inside the players’ shoulder pads, to track this information. Georgia hasn’t had too many games go the distance, with starters being pulled early in the fourth quarter. With fewer game snaps, that has allowed for more physical practices late in the year.

Against South Carolina, however, Georgia’s first team was needed for all four quarters. With the starters taking on more snaps, Georgia’s coaching staff has to decide how much more to put on the players during the week of practice.

“I think you follow science. You look at the GPS numbers,” Smart said. “We’re comparing the numbers this year to last year. We’re seeing how many guys are hitting top speeds in the games. If they continue to hit their top speeds, then we continue to do what we do. But if they slow down, then we have to slow down. I think for the first time (since Notre Dame), we had a game that we had to play all four quarters, so we had guys play more snaps. We have to be smarter this week than in past weeks. But we’ve also got to get ready for a tough, physical football game.”

As it stands now, Georgia is in good health. Barring any unforeseen injuries in practice this week, Georgia will have all hands on deck for Saturday’s game against Auburn.

“I credit that to the strength and conditioning guys,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “We take care of our bodies. The coaches take care of our bodies throughout the week of practice. We go hard and it’s something where I guess you say it’s a bit of luck too. It’s something in the preparation as well.”