ATHENS, Ga. — Kirby Smart, in his first public comments since Brock Bowers had ankle surgery, said, “There is no timeline” for the star tight end’s return, adding: “The key is we are trying to get him back healthy.” Here’s what you need to know:
- Bowers had tightrope surgery on Monday in Birmingham, Ala., performed by Norman Waldrop, who has done the procedure on a number of SEC players over the past few years. The surgery has become more popular as a way for players to return sooner and in better shape from high ankle sprains.
- The timetable for returning after tightrope surgery is generally four-to-six weeks, but some have returned earlier.
- Georgia, on a bye this week, is about to enter what looks like the toughest stretch of its season: Beginning with Florida, its next four opponents have winning records, and three are ranked (Missouri, Ole Miss and Tennessee).
What Smart said about Bowers
Given the wide range of how quickly players have returned from this surgery, Smart was careful not to be pinned down on anything, including when he was asked if he was confident that Bowers would suit up again for Georgia.
“You really think I’m going to answer that question,” Smart said, laughing. “Is this all that’s about? All you guys want to talk about is whether he’s going to be back. … To answer that question is speculative. I’m not going to speculate.”
That said, the fact Bowers got the surgery at all is a strong indicator that he’s not shutting it down for the pros, at least as long as Georgia is in the national championship hunt.
“(Bowers) wanted to get the thing done as soon as he could have gotten it done,” Smart said. “He’s in great spirits. He’s a warrior. So he’ll handle it the right way.”
Bowers will take the same rehab process that other Georgia players have after tightrope surgery, including right tackle Amarius Mims and tight end Lawson Luckie. Georgia athletic trainer Ron Courson is working with Bowers and Waldrop on the rehab process.
Mims missed four games and Luckie took about five weeks to be cleared to play again, although he still isn’t 100 percent. But some other players have come back quicker: Tennessee receiver Cedric Tillman only missed four games last year, and Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returned within a couple of weeks when he got the surgery during the 2019 season. Alabama offensive lineman Cam Robinson returned within two weeks during the 2014 season.
“I know Brock, he’s a hard worker, he comes in and works his tail off every day,” senior receiver Marcus Rosemy-Jacksaint said. “He’s going to attack this like he attacks everything.”
Other injury updates
Kendall Milton was back at practice Tuesday after sitting out the second half of the Vanderbilt game. Milton missed a couple of games with an MCL sprain and took a helmet to the knee during the first half but appears to be fine.
Xavier Truss, who also left the Vanderbilt game with an ankle injury, does not have a high ankle sprain. Smart said it was a deltoid injury and Truss “should be fine, and should be good to go.”
Truss has been starting at right tackle since Mims had his tightrope surgery. There’s a chance Mims could be back for the Florida game, but Smart wasn’t saying either way on Tuesday.
“Mims is working his way back,” Smart said. “He’s been out there at practice but hasn’t had any reps. It’s going to be a timetable on him the same as everybody else with those injuries. When they’re cleared and when they’re comfortable and when they can play at a winning rate they’ll get a chance to go back out there.”
(Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)