Bulldogs smarting after Pickens blow

27 March 2021 00:32:09 GMTPlus10

Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is refusing to rule the Bulldogs' leading wide receiver George Pickens out of the 2021 season, despite the likely timeframe for recovery from a devastating knee injury he sustained this week.

Pickens is facing surgery after damaging the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a non-contact drill on Tuesday.

The normal recovery period for such surgery is about nine months, which would put him out until the very back end of the next college season.

The Bulldogs' chances of breaking Alabama's dominance of the Southeastern Conference will depend on Smart finding a suitable replacement for Pickens, who earned immediate playing time during his freshman year at Georgia in 2019.

The 20-year-old went on to star in the Bulldogs' Sugar Bowl win over Baylor with 12 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown.

He was also the top receiver in the Peach Bowl a year later as Georgia denied Cincinnati with a fourth-quarter rally.

"George will be dearly missed because he's talented and he works really hard," coach Smart said after Thursday's practice, via the Associated Press.

"He makes our whole team better. I know that's obvious in terms of what he does offensively, but he makes all the defensive backs better.

"When you talk about challenging guys, there's no greater matchup for a young defensive back than going against George. That part we don't control but what we do control is how we respond to it."

Georgia are 10/1 to win their first national title since 1980 next season with Alabama at 3/1 to retain their crown.

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