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

GTBob

October 3rd, 2012
5:14 pm

It’s games like these that make the great players go to Georgia.

I am pretty sure if UGA and South Carolina were both unranked and 0-5 it wouldn’t affect recruiting much. The quality of the football team may not even be in the top 10 for the type of recruits UGA usually gets.

DawginLex

October 3rd, 2012
5:14 pm

NCBF

Watch film of UGA games and learn. Rome and Lynch will be more involved as TE’s. Mitchell is all offense now.

No turnovers like last year and we win 38-31

Delbert D.

October 3rd, 2012
5:16 pm

Man, that’s bad. Bennett is a heck of a player. I hope he makes a full recovery and gets back on the field next year.

CHDawg

October 3rd, 2012
5:16 pm

LH, just looking at stats, we are pretty even. We have probably had slightly stronger opponents overall, so that is a plus for UGA. We had a lot of people missing from the D, so we should be better than our numbers; that is a plus for UGA. We play in Columbia. That is obviously a plus for the Roosters. Looks pretty balanced, though.

LHarding Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
5:18 pm

As usual, stupid comment from GT.

LogicalUS

October 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

“one minute this will not disrupt Murray’s passing game. There is a rhythm between the 2 that will be lost ”

Just a bunch of know-nothings who don’t understand the timing and trust which goes into college passing games against solid defenses.

It couldn’t have come at a worst time for the SC game, though over the season an adjustment can be made to another receiver but it is silly to pretend that AMurray didn’t look for Bennett in crucial situations and to believe that you can just stick another player with different speed, different build and who comes out of cuts differently into such a crucial position for a game with 2 practice days later.

He was the TOP UGA receiver for a reason and with the 8 NFL Pro-bowlers at the other WR positions, he must have had something going for him to have double the catches of any of those other pro bowlers..geez.

Billy Joe Bobby

October 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

Look at the bright side. If Georgia lays an egg next Saturday, at least we have an excuse now.

CHDawg

October 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

GTBob, since Tech is 2-3, you should have a great year of recruiting with that wonderful logic.

dawg52

October 3rd, 2012
5:30 pm

Michael Bennett, our prayers are with ya man. You do everything the right way, on and off the field. Know its easy to say, but keep your head up. You’ve got a lot of plays in front of ya. Get thru rehab and you’ll be laughing about this next fall. The WHOLE DAMN DAWG NATION loves ya man!!!!!!

NashDawg

October 3rd, 2012
5:35 pm

Tough loss. He was one of my favorite and a good kid. We’ll miss you Michael. Come back strong next year.

GTBob

October 3rd, 2012
5:37 pm

GTBob, since Tech is 2-3, you should have a great year of recruiting with that wonderful logic.

Tech is the opposite but proves the same point. No matter how much on the field success they have they will never recruit well.

GTBob

October 3rd, 2012
5:38 pm

As usual, stupid comment from GT.

If UGA went 0-12 this year they would still have a top 10 recruiting class. Agree or disagree?

Godspeed Michael Bennett

October 3rd, 2012
5:41 pm

Dawgs will miss you MB! Stay mentally and spiritually tough through your healing process. It won’t be easy but you can, and will, make it back.

#82 DGD!!!!

Toccoa Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
5:44 pm

Get well soon Michael
Other dawgs have to step up ….talking to you Habersham man T King.

goldar

October 3rd, 2012
5:51 pm

from a GT fan, hate to see a kid get hurt, hope he recovers fully and reached his full potential after he heals.

goldar

October 3rd, 2012
5:52 pm

1969 Graduate

October 3rd, 2012
5:59 pm

I’m sorry to see a DGD go down to an injury, but especially this young man. I hope the other players not only try to fill his shoes, but emulate his play on the field. Watching him play, I often got the feeling that he was doing exactly what should be done, giving us the prototype for that football move.

Wishing him a speedy and full recovery.

Go, Georgia.

Game Changer

October 3rd, 2012
6:10 pm

Bennett is the one recvr that raised his level of play in 2011 big games. The question is, what recv’r will step up in 2012 big games?

LoyalDog

October 3rd, 2012
6:14 pm

Michael Bennett is a strong spiritual youngster and will bounce back. I am glad that he has a tremendous support group with his family and within the University. (team and friends) as well as fans. The Dawgs will have someone to step up because they have talent ability and a love for each other. Coach Richt ad the coaching staff value relationships that are genuine and authentic.

SRS

October 3rd, 2012
6:19 pm

What a shame! Get well soon Michael. You will be missed this year!

OrlandoDawg

October 3rd, 2012
6:38 pm

My God! I just got the news! Bennett was going to catch the first TD on the first drive Sat. god Bless this Dawg and to a speedy recover! He will set records next year!

Gamecockmike

October 3rd, 2012
6:41 pm

From a Gamecock fan: Sorry to hear about this. He seems like a good kid. Get well.

Hot Err

October 3rd, 2012
6:42 pm

Dang one of my favorite dawgs is hurt. Good news is we are stacked @ wr and TGF Malcom Mitchell!!! What a stud. There aren’t too many kids that can start on offense and defense in the SEC.

Lacey

October 3rd, 2012
6:44 pm

Praying for you Michael! Our team will just have to step up and make big plays! The Bulldog Nation has to have faith in them!

SoGaDawg

October 3rd, 2012
6:49 pm

Really hate to hear that for Bennett. On a positive note, the fact that he was on the field in a practice and was going at it that hard tells me that the whole team is practicing hard this week instead of taking it lightly. I hope this injury doesn’t cause Richt to back off on the practices. Practices should be as hard as the games, we all saw a few years ago what happened when he backed off the intensity of the practices.

JetBuzz

October 3rd, 2012
6:53 pm

Great attitude MB – best wishes for a good year and quick recovery!

DawgNole

October 3rd, 2012
6:56 pm

LogicalUS
October 3rd, 2012
5:25 pm

It couldn’t have come at a worst time for the SC game, though over the season an adjustment can be made to another receiver but it is silly to pretend that AMurray didn’t look for Bennett in crucial situations and to believe that you can just stick another player with different speed, different build and who comes out of cuts differently into such a crucial position for a game with 2 practice days later.
He was the TOP UGA receiver for a reason and with the 8 NFL Pro-bowlers at the other WR positions, he must have had something going for him to have double the catches of any of those other pro bowlers..geez.
____________________

Co-sign!

fan

October 3rd, 2012
6:57 pm

This should be great news to the AJC Sports Reporting. Any negative news coming out of Athens, especially the football team.

UGA89

October 3rd, 2012
6:58 pm

Our freshmen offensive players need to play better than they did this past Saturday. Theus’ missed assignment led to A. Murray’s fumble and T. Gurley missed his block which led to K. Marshall fumbling.
I found out about Michael Bennett around noon and I’m still depressed. He is the one receiver that I never worried about. I just knew he would catch everything that came near him, good pass or not. I felt he was our best player on the team and a DGD. Bennett would have caught that catch (that Wooten missed) over the middle last Saturday to seal the game. He was money.

UGA24-7

October 3rd, 2012
7:01 pm

I will be going to a UGA and tech game this year and was curious as to if I let my windows down as I go through Atlanta will I be able to hear Middle Tennessee score again?

CHDawg

October 3rd, 2012
7:02 pm

I agree with most of that, but let’s not forget that Mitchell was number one last year. He was 2 behind co-number ones Brown and Bennett after moving to D. So, we will definitely miss MB, but Murray is very familiar with both Brown and Mitchell. I think the biggest hole is Murray’s confidence in MB to pull down the tough catches in tight surroundings.

BILLY JACK

October 3rd, 2012
7:03 pm

We are all praying for you son and know you will come back next year stronger-the team will now play in your honor -Malcolm will play the slot and catch the quick slants that you did-you will come back next year and pick up where you left off-this season is for you Michael.

catlady

October 3rd, 2012
7:06 pm

This one hurts in more ways than one. Hope the guy has a successful surgery and recovery.

kral

October 3rd, 2012
7:13 pm

That might be why he threw MB that tight 2-PT. conversion pass..no confidence..or just play design..wonder what AM THINKS…hey ole great gt bob..been reading the tech blogs..have not commented..won’t…have not seen you there much..notice you got time for us dawgs..god bless you..oh by the way I’M having trouble understanding the difference now in illiterate dawg fans and those smart tech fans..but I’M sure you can set me straight again

gnomeboy

October 3rd, 2012
7:17 pm

we’re Doomed!!!!!!

Rick James

October 3rd, 2012
7:23 pm

@GTBob

Tech is the opposite but proves the same point. No matter how much on the field success they have they will never recruit well.
——————————————————————————————————————————-
Without using academics tell us why you think this is true..I think the the problem is that CPJ is too arrogant,too lazy and just does not have the people skills to be an effective recruiter..Tech fans are blasting Al Groh but the truth is he’s working with the marginal talent CPJ has recruited.

Rick James

October 3rd, 2012
7:27 pm

I hate this..He has the heart of a lion and will bounce back.I’m sure we will see more of Malcom Mitchell but I’m wondering if we will see Blake Tibbs who’s explosive..

joe jenkins

October 3rd, 2012
7:38 pm

@really…you are as stupid has your name sounds…how did you come up with stupid screen name….i have been on here and celebrated our wins….but we havnt beat anybody yet….I have been critical of the defense with good clause……losing bennett is devastating….we was our third down wr….I hope like hell we beat the chickens…but we always play like crap in columbia….your assumptions of me are meaniless to me…..and i hope you are having the worst day of your life today and u are doubting that you will ever recover from it….TIA

Lifetime Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
7:45 pm

Enter your comments here

Lifetime Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
7:47 pm

@LogicalUS

“…..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……”
.
You’re a GD liar — no GA fan did any such thing…..And you can’t show that they did. If anyone posted anything like that, it was prob’ly YOU under cover of one of your OTHER ttroll ids

[...] Michael Bennett, Georgia’s leading receiver through the first five games, will miss the remainder of the 2012 season with a torn ACL in his right knee, as reported by AJC.com. [...]

dogdawg

October 3rd, 2012
8:07 pm

That boy was clutch to our offense. Gonna miss him bad!!!

just sayin

October 3rd, 2012
8:09 pm

IIt’s to bad this happened to this kid and hpoe he has a speedy recovery. Georgia is deep in this posiition though. Who knows Mitchell or someone else could have a great year…there is a lot of talent at receiver.

BigDaddyGator

October 3rd, 2012
8:12 pm

Sorry to hear about this…great player and kid, wish we had 3-4 like him wearing orange and blue. Hope he has a speedy recovery and comes back strong next year.

Dr. Dawgs

October 3rd, 2012
8:16 pm

There goes the National Championship.

Tampa Gator

October 3rd, 2012
8:21 pm

I have had the opportunity to watch a couple of Georgia’s games on TV, and I think Bennett has been on of the major keys to Georgia’s offense….very clutch receiver. He is going to be very hard to replace. Big third down and red zone receiver. Hard to cover in those situations. Who has those kinds of skills that will be able to replace him?

Rick James

October 3rd, 2012
8:31 pm

@Tampa Gator

Malcome Mitchell who is not as clutch but more of a threat from anywhere on the field.

Dawg Whisperer

October 3rd, 2012
8:32 pm

Thank you for the demonstration of good will and class to the many fans of other schools!

UA Grad

October 3rd, 2012
8:33 pm

Sorry to hear this news. Hate to see any young person get hurt. Feel your pain Ga fans. We have lost 3 players for the season. Good luck to him.
RTR

lakedawg

October 3rd, 2012
8:35 pm

Tough break for the Dawgs….. a fan favorite (me included). MB….. We wish you a speedy recovery and look forward to seeing you back on the gridiron where you belong.