Georgia wide receiver Michael Bennett injured, out for season (Updated)

ATHENS — Georgia’s football team suffered a significant and untimely injury, learning Wednesday that its leading receiver, Michael Bennett, will miss the remainder of the season with a torn knee ligament.

Bennett, injured on the final play of Tuesday’s closed practice, was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and will require reconstructive surgery, UGA said.

The news came as No. 5 Georgia prepares for Saturday’s game at No. 6 South Carolina, a showdown of undefeated SEC East teams.

Georgia’s offense surely will miss Bennett against the Gamecocks’ stellar defense. Through five games, he leads the Bulldogs’ receivers in catches (24), yards (345) and touchdowns (4).

Bennett reacted to his season-ending injury via Twitter, writing: “God has a plan for me and everything happens for a reason. Get ready for a historic season Dawg nation. Our boys are gonna get it done!”

Coach Mark Richt said the injury occurred as Bennett was blocking in the final drill of practice.

“It’s very sad that it happened,” Richt said. “It was a heck of a practice, really. Everybody was working hard; everybody had a good attitude; scout teamers were getting after it. Everything you’d hope for in a Tuesday practice, we were having.

“And then, on the very last [play] of the day, he was engaged in a block and was just working it. And as he was moving — no one ran into him [or] rolled into him or anything like that — his knee buckled. And there it was.”

Bennett, an Alpharetta High graduate, was redshirted as a UGA freshman in 2010 and showed considerable promise in 2011 before emerging as a top target for quarterback Aaron Murray this season.

Bennett had eight catches against Missouri, 110 receiving yards against Florida Atlantic and, in what proved to be his final game of the season, five catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns against Tennessee last week. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining, and Richt  expects that he’ll be ready to play at the start of next season.

Wide receiver is one of Georgia’s deepest positions. After Bennett, the team’s next most productive receivers have been seniors Marlon Brown (17 catches for 272 yards and three touchdowns) and Tavarres King (16 catches for 307 yards and three touchdowns).  Rantavious Woote, Chris Conley and Rhett McGowan also have contributed. Even before Bennett’s injury, the coaches returned Malcolm Mitchell — the Bulldogs’ second leading receiver behind King last year — to primarily an offensive role after using him on defense through the season’s first four weeks.

“Now, especially with Bennett’s injury, we’re going to be using [Mitchell] more offensively,” Richt said. “But that was the plan [already].”

Richt likes Georgia’s depth at wide receiver but says the group will miss Bennett in more ways than one.

“I think we’re still going to be fine, but we’re losing a guy that I personally think helped the toughness of our unit [in] the way he went about his business, even when he was redshirted,” Richt said. “Just a tough, hard-nosed football player, a guy who was going to make a tough catch, a guy who was going to block, a guy who was going to practice with a lot of intensity.”

King wants to pay tribute to Bennett during Saturday’s game.   “I wanna wear 82 this week,” King tweeted, referring to Bennett’s jersey number.

–Tim Tucker

380 comments Add your comment

Red Pants

October 3rd, 2012
11:47 am

Horrible timing. Great kid, has heart. I like what I see out of Conley though, time to step up in a big moment.

Preston

October 3rd, 2012
11:48 am

That stinks!

Tom

October 3rd, 2012
11:48 am

Tough loss … get well soon Michael. The other receivers will have to step up.

Papa Smurf

October 3rd, 2012
11:48 am

Get well soon!

coondawg69

October 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

HUGE loss!!!!

Bama in Atlanta

October 3rd, 2012
11:50 am

Hate to hear that, he was developing into a very good receiving threat.

SCDawg

October 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

Looks like Mitchell back to offense full time now…everyone else needs to step it up.

Rally the troops . . .

October 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

Sucks, but hopefully others can step up. I have a lot of confidence in Conley and others but losing Bennett, huge blow to offense.

Blue Ridge Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
11:51 am

Michael Bennett is a dgd that has played so well this year… Horrible news for this great guy!

chicago dawg

October 3rd, 2012
11:52 am

fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu…

get well soon, mb. you will be missed, brother.

Who's Your Daddy

October 3rd, 2012
11:52 am

Tough break for a great kid who is just a beast going up for the ball. Get well soon and cant wait to see you on the field again next year!

GOOOO Dawgs

October 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

Not good for my dawgs. Best hands and Best blocker. Big Blow to the offense

P_The_Ricker

October 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

Terrible blow!

Bennett never seemed satisfied with just making a catch. He was always looking to score after the catch. Evident from a quick post route he ran on Saturday that he took for another 20 yds after the catch for a TD.

Have faith that the wr corps will continue on and fill the gap.

Conley looks to be next up! Not a bad plan B.

RAWDAWG

October 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

I really feel for the kid. Talking about a kid who does everything the right way. Worked his tail off to get an offer to UGA, has been working his tail off since he stepped on campus to the tune of working into the WR rotation fairly quickly. Was having a great season. I am sure he will continue the trend and work his tail off to get that knee ready to go at full strength for next season. My heart goes out to him, indeed.

Pat Fenis

October 3rd, 2012
11:53 am

Really tough break. Great kid. DGD! Get well soon.

BJ

October 3rd, 2012
11:54 am

Horrible news! He is my favorite receiver! Get well soon buddy

Bob in Buford

October 3rd, 2012
11:55 am

The Dawgs need to decide whether Mitchell can make the most impact as a shut down corner or receiver. I think our receivers can get the job done. Our dbs are a little shaky.

RxDawg

October 3rd, 2012
11:56 am

One of, if not my favorite receivers for us. Terrible news. Good luck to a speedy recovery Bennett.

Goooo Dawgs Sic Em

October 3rd, 2012
11:57 am

A legit receiver and fearless competitor!!! Hate this for you but look forward to seeing you healthy next year! Ok Mitchell back to full time WR now, lets go Dawgs!!!

Cap Cod Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
11:57 am

That hurts. A good player and a fine young man.

Red & Black 4 life

October 3rd, 2012
12:01 pm

Dang, Stay strong Kid, Your a good damn dog!

[...] the rest here: Georgia receiver Bennett injured, out for season ← Back to Home Tags: athens, bennett, chris, conley, focal, knee, malcolm, mitchell, [...]

1eyedJack

October 3rd, 2012
12:01 pm

Mitchell now goes offense full time?
Conley has to step up his game.
Pull the redshirt off of Tibbs?

mvdawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:02 pm

What a great young man with a big heart. With this man willingness to overcome and push through I believe he will come back stronger then ever. Praying for you Michael. God bless

azdawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

Awful news for both MB and the team. Hate to see that happen to him. Big, big loss.

Basstringerfish

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

Goooo dogs…you said it…he’s going to be missed blocking. I think he was quicker and more accurate a route runner than defenses were willing to give him credit. Plus that intangible – the QB had faith in his ability to catch the football.
If we can get some chips on those DE’s of USCe, then maybe we can get Rome more involved down the field…

jrhj

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

Sorry to hear about Bennett! My favorite receiver on the team and seems he tries extremely hard to make something happen after the catch! We will miss him the rest of the year!

Dawg Haus

October 3rd, 2012
12:03 pm

Terrible news. I hate this for Bennett, a DGD if there were was one. I think Mitchell will be seeing a lot more work on offense now. Chris Conley was a very reliable receiver last year when called on. No one can fill Bennett’s shoes, but he’s a good candidate to step up and try. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Michael! God bless.

Hank Hill

October 3rd, 2012
12:06 pm

Bennett was Murray’s “go to” receiver and a Damn Good Dawg. He will be missed, and others will have to step up.

McDawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:07 pm

bad news -i envisioned him on a crossing pattern first play of the game for about 35yds gain

McDawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

after all the little games w/ suspensons etc.. why would this be broadcast

NCGamecock

October 3rd, 2012
12:08 pm

Horrible news for a kid having a great year- no one likes to see this. Gamecock nation wishes Bennett a successful recovery.

drbasic1

October 3rd, 2012
12:09 pm

I feel for him, and am sure he will come back strong. The receivers themselves comment on how deep they are, so now is the time to show it and someone else step up so in a way, he will not be missed as far as offense production is concerned. I know he was looking so forward to playing SC, so now gentlemen go out there and G.A.T.A for him!

See no Evil

October 3rd, 2012
12:10 pm

I’m sorry to see him get the injury. It would be nice to see both teams at full strength for the game. Get well soon.

LogicalUS

October 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

Not good news for the kid or for AMurray who seemed to search out Bennett when in trouble or under pressure.

Should be a good reminder for the posters earlier this week crowing about the shakiness of SC QB\RB injuries and that UGA would be targeting them early in the game.

Never want to see injuries determine outcome of games.

James

October 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

We are going to beat South Carolina this Saturday night or die…that’s it…because we don’t want to be on this earth knowing that we have lost our shot at glory. We as Georgians need not be afraid because we know that we are going to give everything we can to be succesful and have a shot at a National Title. Amen

Vinings Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:12 pm

I’ll miss that kid. DGD!!! I wish him the very best! It looks to be our deepest position and with Mitchell back we should be fine. Our thoughts are with you MB.

Atlanta

October 3rd, 2012
12:13 pm

Get well soon boy, time for the rest to step up

Perimeter Blocking Fan

October 3rd, 2012
12:13 pm

This is beyond awful. He is an exceptional pass-catcher, but a truly superior blocker. Not to mention an all-around great guy.

Mo

October 3rd, 2012
12:13 pm

Mama noooooo!!!!

dnn

October 3rd, 2012
12:13 pm

Enter your comments here

Art Vandelay

October 3rd, 2012
12:14 pm

I’m not a Dawg fan, but from what I’ve seen of them this season (all their games so far), WR is the one position where they can probably absorb a loss like this, even one as talented as Bennett. With a lesser QB running things, I’d be more concerned, but Murray will have plenty of other options and my guess is the offense doesn’t miss a beat.

dnn

October 3rd, 2012
12:14 pm

Lions Den - MLK HS

October 3rd, 2012
12:14 pm

Dang, sorry to hear this he’ll surely be missed. DG Dawg! This is an opportunity for MLK Alumni – Blake Tibbs to step up to the plate. Let’s go…

king2012

October 3rd, 2012
12:14 pm

I hate to hear the news about Bennett, but I think that UGA has a great receiving group. If they add Blake Tibbs into the mix they will have one of the best group of receivers in the country!!!!!!!!!

chilidawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:16 pm

NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

Cockster

October 3rd, 2012
12:16 pm

Bennett was the only good & consistent receiver the doggies have. Big Big Lost! This game just became a for sure win for the Cocks. USC USC USC

columbia gamecock

October 3rd, 2012
12:17 pm

Too bad. Best of luck in rehab and get well soon son. All the best.

DawgJohn

October 3rd, 2012
12:17 pm

Keep the faith Bennett. You have made your team and fans proud. Work hard to get back out there! You will have lots of super Saturdays remaining in your UGA career! So sorry about the injury. Let this be a rallying point for your boys to win the next 10 for #82!! I know you will be the biggest cheereleader on the sideline. We all know there is a special group in Athens right now and our hopes and prayers are that all of you realize your college football dreams……On a strictly selfish side…..We want to realize those dreams as well!!!! Go Dawgs!! See you in ATL!

Joe

October 3rd, 2012
12:18 pm

Hate to hear this….have a sick feeling this will start a downhill slide…..he was more than a receiver- he bailed Murray out plenty of times…..bet Murray goes back to being Murray this week……