ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia proceeded cautiously with Washaun Ealey during Tuesday’s practice. Still, Ealey and his coaches said the tailback’s knee wasn’t a serious worry, and he would play Saturday against Florida.
Ealey said the trainers have told him his injury is a grade-1 sprained MCL. He compared it to a bruise.
“So it’s really nothing,” Ealey said.
Ealey said he “tweaked” his knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s win at Kentucky, when he set a school record with five rushing touchdowns.
Offensive coordinator Mike Bobo described it as “precautionary” to hold Ealey out of contact.
“It got a little stiff after the game,” Bobo said. “He carried it 28 times. It got a little sore on him, like anybody does when he carries it 28 times. He’ll be good to go.”
Georgia’s desire to be careful with Ealey may stem from all the troubles that have beset their tailbacks this season. Caleb King is returning from a two-game suspension. Ealey started the season with a one-game suspension. King also missed a couple games with a sprained ankle.
Georgia tight end Orson Charles elected not to attend Florida, but he made an impact on his home-state team during the recruiting process — breaking the Gators’ 2006 BCS championship trophy.
The story has been told, but Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, a high school teammate of Charles, shed more light on the incident. Murray wasn’t there when it happened but arrived a half-hour later.
“The whole thing shattered, and I guess they swept it up and put it in the trash can,” said Murray, who recalled that one of their coaches at Plant High took home a piece of the smashed trophy.
Florida, which had insured the trophy, got another one. But Murray said Charles still was embarrassed.
“I told him, ‘Hey, that’s a good thing now. If you had gone to Florida, that would’ve been a bad thing,’ ” Murray said. “But you went to Georgia. I mean, you’re worshiped for that right here. He should take more advantage of being the guy that dropped the national championship trophy.”
Smith on way back
Cornerback Branden Smith, who has missed three straight games with a concussion, participated in Tuesday’s practice, though not in contact drills.
Richt expected Smith, who also returns punts and occasionally plays offense, to move into contact drills today if all went well in Tuesday’s practice.