Brock Bowers, Georgia’s dynamic tight end and one of the nation’s most versatile offensive players, will likely be sidelined for at least a month after suffering a sprained ankle that requires surgery .
Georgia announced that Bowers would have surgery on his left ankle Monday, two days after he limped off the field during the first half of a 37-20 victory at Vanderbilt.
Bowers’ injury puts a damper on Georgia’s bid for a third straight national title – unprecedented in the Associated Press polling era – although there are hopes the preseason All-American can return in time for meaningful games at the end of the season.
The school did not provide details of the operation. But Bowers seemed likely to undergo what’s called a TightRope procedure, which stabilizes the ankle with surgical wire rather than rigid screws and typically reduces rehabilitation time to four to six weeks.
Former Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was perhaps the most high-profile college athlete to undergo this procedure, allowing him to return just three weeks post-surgery during the season 2019.
Bowers would be the third Georgia player to undergo TightRope surgery this season. Offensive tackle Amarius Mim suffered a serious ankle sprain in mid-September and has yet to return. Tight end Lawson Luckie recently rejoined the Bulldogs after being injured in August.
Bowers, who combines speed and size rarely found on a tight end, leads Georgia with 41 receptions for 567 yards and four touchdowns despite frequent double teams. Lined up all over the field, he also rushed six times for 28 yards and another score.
In what will certainly be his final college season, Bowers has even been mentioned as a possible Heisman Trophy candidate at a position that rarely draws such attention. The injury will surely dash those hopes.
Bowers was injured on an 11-yard run where he completed the handoff on a sweep around the right sideline. On the tackle near the sideline, Vanderbilt’s Savion Riley appeared to land on Bowers’ foot as they fell out of bounds.
Bowers hit the turf in frustration, the first indication that the injury might be more than a minor problem.
“It’s a sprained ankle. We don’t know how bad it is,” coach Kirby Smart said after the game. “They x-rayed it, and the x-rays were negative. It looked like it was lower, but until we get an MRI we won’t know more.”
The Bulldogs are taking a bit of a break in the schedule with Bowers out injured heading into a bye week.
But he’s likely to miss at least the Southeastern Conference games against Florida, Missouri and No. 13 Mississippi. If a longer recovery period is needed, he could also miss the final two games of the regular season against No. 17 Tennessee and Georgia Tech.
Beyond that, the SEC championship game will take place on December 2. If the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 SEC) earn a spot in the College Football Playoff, the semifinal games are more than two months away, which shouldn’t be a problem. problem for Bowers.
In the meantime, the Bulldogs will likely give a bigger role to second-year tight end Oscar Delp, who has 13 catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Luckie and freshmen Pearce Spurlin III will also move up the depth chart.
Associated Press reporting.
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