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

Eric C.

October 3rd, 2012
12:47 pm

Well, the defense has underachieved this season…this will hopefully be a rallying cry for the defense to step up and get more pressure on the QB.

docdawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

All SEC year delayed to next season, Get Well soon, keep your chin up Michael

Bama Bill

October 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

Tough break for a youngster who plays the game with skill, heart and thought ! Best of luck and look for to the rest of our DAWG career.

mad~catfish

October 3rd, 2012
12:48 pm

the bad thing is he is not a good receiver he is a great receiver…a sure go to on 3rd down great hands a tremendous blocker…the kid was fearless and would throw his body at everything…a team player all the way….were going to have to roll jay rome into more short yard coverages and its time to see what conley and gowan can do…there good but bennett was great…get well soon…we will see you next year.

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

And talk about unfair. A Tuesday at practice.

mybulldawgs

October 3rd, 2012
12:49 pm

Get yourself well, kid – we’re all pulling for you. You have a great career ahead of you.

Augustabred

October 3rd, 2012
12:50 pm

Man i hate that for Bennett! I have a feeling that Marlon Brown is about to have the season we all were expecting when he got here! Also Scott-Wesley and Conley will step up now!

g time

October 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

Are you fricking kidding me?

Dawg Haus

October 3rd, 2012
12:51 pm

I like it, CHDawg!

QB

October 3rd, 2012
12:53 pm

WR is the deepest position on team they can overcome this injury. Conley, JSW, TK, MB, Wooten, have to step up and Mitchell we should be able to get by.

Dawglasville

October 3rd, 2012
12:54 pm

Sorry for the break young man. Your attitude could not be healthier. Part of the game. Every team has to deal with this. Hopefully we will be ready to smash someone in the mouth come Saturday night.

UGA89

October 3rd, 2012
12:54 pm

Is it Justin Scott -Wesley’s turn to step up. Bennett was our best blocker and best receiver especially over the middle. He caught everything that came his way. I’m depressed.

Red Stick

October 3rd, 2012
12:55 pm

I hate to hear this as I have been impressed with him. Hopefully he will fully recover.

Geaux Tigers
Go SEC

Columbus Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
12:55 pm

While I am reasonably sure that Richt and Bobo do not read these blogs, I will state this fact anyway, Wooten is NOT a replacement for MB! I can not believe they threw that critical pass to Wooten instead having Mitchell on that play against the Vols. It is a sad case when the players themselves have to overcome stupid coaching decisions in EVERY game.

Barry

October 3rd, 2012
12:56 pm

What a tough break for a great kid – and a fine player! We will miss him. But, if there is anything positive in losing Bennett, it is that we do have depth at the wide receiver position and our tight ends are starting to show up more and more. Everyone will have to take up the slack to beat S.C.. Perhaps none more vital than our offensive line against a high quality defensive line and outstanding pass rushers. I believe this game vs S.C. is as big as any that Georgia has played in a long time, for so many, many reasons. Not the least of which is simply to find out if we really are the fifth best team in the country, or have we been pretending?? Go Dawgs!

SEC BOYZ

October 3rd, 2012
1:00 pm

MB.. Will b miss but when u r deep as the dawgs r at that position u just gota plug n go..
MM Chris Conley & others fill that void..MB was jus the favorite target but u hot bets like king & brown so no worries.. It’s the running game that’s gonna make Murray Job comfort..
SC is suspect at the secondary so u cock fans or chicken livers enjoy being ranked behind us bc our defense is all the way back & there is no way ur D is betta than our D
Bulldogs win 45-21

joe jenkins

October 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

@dawgjohn….i hate to burst your bubble bro…but bennet streches the field….this is a HUGE LOSS!!! our best wr’s now is king and mitchell….wooten and brown are suspect….conely is a wild card….jsw is a disapointment… just the way we struggle to score in columbia….and now this big blow like this happpens…the defense cant slow any rb down with a heart beat….I say we lose another one to the chickens….chickens31 dawgs 21

Madison Dawgs

October 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Continue to be a leader for our team Michael!!! You have a ton of heart and we hope to see you celebrating with the rest of the Dawgs at the end of the season. Get better soon and we look forward to seeing you on the field in 2013. Beat the Gamecocks for Bennett and remember how much he has contributed already this season. Go Dawgs!!! Sic ‘em!!!

Smitty

October 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

From a Gamecock fan, sorry for this lousy break. Bennett is a heck of a ball player and seems like a great kid. Prayers for a full/speedy recovery.

Go Cocks!

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:01 pm

Love to see more JSW, but just no room for his on the field yet. I don’t think this will change that. Unless they shuffle over some guys and he get more reps as FLK. This will be covered by Brown and McGowen.

nonDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:05 pm

The article didn’t say how the injury occurred and I know injuries happen. What I don’t understand is why at the collegiate level they are still having full pads, full scrimmages after the season has started.
We did that in high school. You will not hear about the pros having full contact, full scrimmages once the season has started. Oh, I forgot, the pros see the players as money making assets and they want to minimize the risks.

ChucktownGamecock

October 3rd, 2012
1:05 pm

Even as a Gamecock fan, I wouldn’t wish that on any kid.

db

October 3rd, 2012
1:05 pm

Hate to hear this. When it comes to young kids and injuries the rivalries seem to disappear. We wish him the best in his recovery.

Contractor

October 3rd, 2012
1:06 pm

To the guy I got into it with last time about Michael Bennett, be ready to understand why I said he was Georgia’s bet receiver. He is the most reliable and will definitely be missed at the “go to” times, because King just doesn’t have it. Praying for a successful surgery and healthy recovery.

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:06 pm

damn Josephine, picking the Dawgs to lose to cover your pathetic little thin skin, living in Carolina. What a big surprise. How about this: Grow a pair.

UGA89

October 3rd, 2012
1:07 pm

Columbus Dawg…
I said the SAME thing!!!! As soon as I saw Wooten drop the ball I yelled about why we wouldn’t have had Bennett make that catch. There is no way he would have dropped that ball. Wooten is not a sure thing. Plus, we need a TE to help Theus. He gets beat almost every play. The play Murray got sacked and fumbled was because Theus got beat.

Dawg Haus

October 3rd, 2012
1:08 pm

I’m not so sure JSW is a disappointment, joe jenkins. The kid hasn’t seen much playing time because of the outstanding play of players like Michael Bennett. He might get a shot to prove himself on Saturday. We know Conley will step up.

Dawg Heaven

October 3rd, 2012
1:10 pm

Bennett is my favorite Georgia player. The kid is all heart and I wish him a full recovery. Dawgs will play this one for Bennett!

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:12 pm

Seems like only yesterday that everybody was giving us grief to think a guy Like Michael Bennet could ever replace the loss of Kris Durham.

Ghost

October 3rd, 2012
1:14 pm

Sorry to hear about Bennett , big loss . but at least we have quality depth , Time for Chris Conley to step up.

jake

October 3rd, 2012
1:15 pm

Stop hitting in practice!!!!!! These damn walk thru drills are killin us. Where is BOBBY DODD when you need him???? Tech NEVER hit in practice. STOP NOW FORE we lose everyBODY!!!!!

@UGA89

October 3rd, 2012
1:17 pm

UGA89, The play where Murray fumbled the blitz came up the middle , unless we shifted Theus to left guard on that play it wasn’t his responsibility.

dawgfan

October 3rd, 2012
1:21 pm

Yeah, let’s stop hitting in practice so in the games we can get our lilly little azzes kicked by teams that do hit in practice. Great plan.

Sucks for Bennett but the team must soldier on. The season still comes down to the O-line and the defense, just like always. Nothing has changed. I for one think all of our recievers are doing an excellent job this year and not just Bennett.

Nothing Could Be Finer

October 3rd, 2012
1:21 pm

Eric C.

October 3rd, 2012
12:47 pm

Well, the defense has underachieved this season…

—————————-
Laughable.

Everyone outside of Athens knows that the dogs defense is overrated.

Whiznot

October 3rd, 2012
1:21 pm

Terrible. Losing Bennett for the year might even hurt the running game as much as the passing game. Bennett has been awesome this year. With his attitude I expect Bennett to rehap and recover well for a stronger future with the Dawgs.

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:22 pm

Actually the Right Guard got beat on that play.

Whiznot

October 3rd, 2012
1:22 pm

Terrible. Losing Bennett for the year might even hurt the running game as much as the passing game. Bennett has been awesome this year. With his attitude I expect Bennett to rehab and recover well for a stronger future with the Dawgs.

astrouga

October 3rd, 2012
1:22 pm

Bennett is a key player. This kid makes some big plays. We will need to play our best without him to pull out the V in USC.

SLWDAWG

October 3rd, 2012
1:23 pm

Favorite player on the team because of heart and attitude. Will miss the great catches, but the great blocking even more! Get well soon and stay strong. He definitely has you in His hands, and His plan is always perfect! GO DAWGS!!!

GB's Hamburgers

October 3rd, 2012
1:23 pm

Rather lose any receiver but Bennett. He was our gritty, possession receiver who was “money” in big games.

UGA Insider

October 3rd, 2012
1:24 pm

Hard to replace a guy like that.

CHDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:24 pm

ABH is saying that he injured it on the last play of practice on a block. Nobody rolled it or hit it, but it just buckled. I hate it for MB. We do have a lot of great receivers, but his reliability will be sorely missed. I still like my idea on the GAME BALL Saturday: Win it for Bennett Signed by the whole team.

Augusta Dog

October 3rd, 2012
1:25 pm

Great attitude Mr. Bennett. It’s an attitude indicative of a team that has matured and that will prevail.
Go Dogs!

HoneyBooBooDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:26 pm

I heard that he got hurt from straining his brain on his senior level basket weaving class at UGA.

Texas Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:26 pm

This isn’t good!!!

Hands down best blocker and hands of all the recivers…..not good….he was clutch when we needed him!!!!

If you look at our long runs this year he is a key blocker…..the other guys better step it up!!!!!

Get well soon DMG!!!!!

This bites!

Stiffneck

October 3rd, 2012
1:27 pm

This hurts! Bennett was by far the go-to guy in the clutch. Maybe Mitchell is back in the mix at the right time. Still gonna miss Bennett.

AltamahaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
1:28 pm

Really? What is our defense “rated”?

bubba4dawgs

October 3rd, 2012
1:30 pm

We’ll miss you Michael! You are right, God does have a plan for you! You will still have a significant role helping the DAWGS in every way you can! The DAWG Nation is so very proud of you and really enjoy watching you play! Get well and keep looking up!

Roadrunner

October 3rd, 2012
1:30 pm

This is a true loss for the Dawgs, Bennett is a stud on the field in addition to having great hands. Get well soon Michael, You’ll be missed!!!

dawgfan

October 3rd, 2012
1:31 pm

Some of you seem to have forgotten his bad case of the dropsies against Mizzou. Marlon Brown was more than able to pick up the slack.

I’m not trying to be a douche. I love MB as much as the next guy but lets just settle down people.