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Auburn ‘not ruling’ running back Kamryn Pettway out for Georgia

Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway warms up before facing LSU Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium.
Auburn running back Kamryn Pettway warms up before facing LSU Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. mniziolek@ledger-enquirer.com

Auburn’s offensive MVP Kamryn Pettway’s status for the Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is up in the air.

Coach Gus Malzahn gave fans good news Tuesday announcing quarterback Sean White as the starter for Saturday, but his update on Pettway wasn’t quite as encouraging.

“We're hoping to get him on the practice field today or tomorrow,” Malzahn said. “He's done well so far. He's kind of a quick healer. I'll know more later in the week but he is planning on practicing.”

The injury cost Pettway what would have been a touchdown on a 60-yard carry with less than four minutes to go against Vanderbilt.

With Vanderbilt playing up at the line on a third-and-one, Pettway went untouched through the middle of the defense. He had an open lane all the way to the end zone, but he started stumbling after crossing midfield.

Malzahn said Pettway “pulled something” after the game and was equally as evasive about the injury Tuesday.

“It’s a leg injury,” Malzahn said.

The injury spoiled what otherwise was a milestone day for Pettway. The sophomore extended Auburn’s streak with at least one 1,000-yard rusher to eight seasons when he crossed the mark in the third quarter.

Pettway also became the first Auburn player to rush for more than 150 yards in four straight games since Bo Jackson did it in 1985. The Prattville alum has 1,106 yards with seven touchdowns on the season.

While the running back has handled the bulk of the workload in recent weeks averaging 30 carries a game, Malzahn is confident Auburn can survive Pettway’s absence if he isn’t healthy enough to play.

“I feel pretty good about that,” Malzahn said. “We didn't have Pettway one game, and KJ's done a super job. Stanton Trewitt has done a very good job running between the tackles when we've asked him to. We feel good about what we have.”

But Malzahn stressed that isn’t the preferred scenario.

“We're not ruling out Pettway yet,” Malzahn said. “Wouldn't be surprised if he plays, but at the same time we've got other guys that will be ready to go.”

Michael Niziolek: 334-332-8572, @wareagleextra

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