ATHENS - For once this season, the injury news is good for the Georgia football team.
Josh Harvey-Clemons and Chris Conley will not require surgery after sustaining injuries against Vanderbilt, and each has a chance to play against Florida, Richt said. Harvey-Clemons, a sophomore safety, injured his foot. Conley, a junior receiver, injured his ankle on the final play of the game, a hail mary.
"We're hopeful they'll be able to play in the Florida game," Richt said Sunday on his media teleconference. "I'd say Josh is more likely than Chris than this moment. But it's a long ways away before that, so I'm not gonna count anybody out yet."
In addition, star tailback Todd Gurley and receiver Michael Bennett, who have missed the past few games, remain on track to be able to play against Florida.
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"Michael Bennett, we're feeling pretty good that he can make it back. And we're thinking there's a pretty good shot that Gurley can play," Richt said. "Hoping they can get at least one full week of practice with this open date. I don't know who's further along than the other. I just know Michael's doing well."
Gurley sprained his ankle against LSU on Sept. 28 and has yet to play since. Bennett tore his meniscus at Tennessee a week later and had surgery a few days later.
It would be a big lift to Georgia to get those four players back, especially Gurley and Bennett. The Bulldogs are 1-2 since Gurley's injury. But they have lost three other key offensive players for season-ending knee injuries: Receiver Malcolm Mitchell in the season opener, and tailback Keith Marshall and receiver Justin Scott-Wesley in the Tennessee game.
Of course Georgia isn't the only SEC East team to be hit hard by injuries. Florida has lost even more starters to season-ending injuries, including quarterback Jeff Driskel and star defensive lineman Dominique Easley. Missouri is playing without quarterback James Franklin, injured in the Georgia game, and South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw is doubtful for this week's game against Missouri.
"It seems like this year you're hearing more and more, more than usual, around the league. And it may be that it's not necessarily more injuries, than more injuries to guys that are more recognizable names, or guys that are starters," Richt said. "There's usually a long list of injuries throughout a team."