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

LogicalUS

October 3rd, 2012
8:43 pm

“You’re a GD liar — no GA fan did any such thing”

Avery is that you?
Feelng a little bad karma about the numerous posts on Mon\Tues predicting that the SC RB’s knee and the SC QBs shoulder would hold up vs “the most

LogicalUS

October 3rd, 2012
8:43 pm

“You’re a GD liar — no GA fan did any such thing”

Avery is that you?
Feelng a little bad karma about the numerous posts on Mon\Tues predicting that the SC RB’s knee and the SC QBs shoulder would hold up vs “the most

Tampa Gator

October 3rd, 2012
9:00 pm

@Rick James….

I am not sure anyone at WR has been more of a consistent threat anywhere on the field than Bennett…….and espcially in the red zone. I don’t think Marshall can consistently do the things that Bennett does……and Bennett presents a big receiver match up problem for opposing defenses. Marshall doesn’t. Marshall presents more of down town receiver threat for sure….but I would prefer a receiver that presents the overall skill sets at WR that Bennett does. I would think that Marlon Brown would be more of the the type of receiver to step in and perform the role of Bennett did for the Dawgs. But I am not sure any of the Dawg receivers left can come close to fulfilling the shoes vacated by Bennett on Saturdays. He was a damn good receiver. I know as a Gator fan, I worred more about Bennett that any other Georgia receiver. With him not being on the field, I think Georgia becomes easiler overall to defend for Florida and other SEC teams.

JRW7

October 3rd, 2012
9:01 pm

MAY GOD BLESS YOU MB, YOU ARE A DGD’S!!!!

gamecock in ga

October 3rd, 2012
9:09 pm

Bad break for this kid and I wish him well as he is a great person and a very good receiver. Hopes he makes it back soon.

phil

October 3rd, 2012
9:13 pm

Good grief. Here we go. Let the excuses begin!!

Hate to hear this though. Best receiver by far. Not good news.

Fire the idiot coaches who let this happen!!

crackbaby

October 3rd, 2012
9:14 pm

Best wishes for a speedy and full recovery #82.

Just Saying

October 3rd, 2012
9:25 pm

Damn good Dawg. Thanks for all you have done for our team. We look forward to you having a speedy recovery. Thanks again pal.

t2go

October 3rd, 2012
9:32 pm

Love the way he plays! Great effort all the time! Hate it for him. Hopefully he will have a full recovery and be back on the field next year!

Herschel Walker's Jock-Strap

October 3rd, 2012
9:39 pm

I have been bummed about this news all day! Michael Bennett has been hardcore this year for UGA. He is a fierce competitor and a very reliable reciever. He will truly be missed the rest of the season. I love to watch the guy do his thing. Good Luck Bennett and get well soon! DGD!!!

Ckgator

October 3rd, 2012
9:41 pm

Best wishes for a speedy recovery to this gifted athlete.

>”==,===,——/

P B

October 3rd, 2012
10:20 pm

Best receiver on the team. Speedy recovery

Haka Dawg

October 3rd, 2012
10:23 pm

‘Turrible’ news. I hope you’ll recover quick MB. I cried inside at work when I heard of the ‘turrible’ news. GATA!

Tman

October 3rd, 2012
11:29 pm

Good receiver hope the best for him. People forget in the mizzou game he dropped 3 passes that were catchable His replacement might be better and faster

JRW7

October 3rd, 2012
11:39 pm

GO DAWGS, let’s win this game for MB!!

green county dawg

October 4th, 2012
12:06 am

that made me sick when iheard love you mb get well soon

The Factor

October 4th, 2012
12:08 am

A lot of classy posts from Gamecocks tonite. Nice to see.

clay

October 4th, 2012
4:08 am

The good thing is that Mitchell is coming back and we should not miss a beat. Too bad this happened, but if it was to happen at a certain position, this is the best, because we are so deep at WR.

Integrity

October 4th, 2012
6:58 am

I extend my condolences to this fine young man. He will be greatly missed. However, we are deep at receiver this year at UGA. Hopefully, God’s plan for him will be to provide extra motivation for the rest of the team to give it their all in supporting their super fellow Dawg! I believe we are going to see a motivated UGA team hit the field in Columbia come Saturday night. Spurrier has provided plenty of sparks to light a huge fire under the Dawgs. Let’s hope this is going to be their year in taking the first major stride in “completing the drill” for an SEC and National Championship this year!

Fidlin1

October 4th, 2012
8:24 am

Michael has true grit and it’ll be hard to fill in his shoes. He was the one that would take it across the middle with reckless abandon. I hope he gets an opportunity to play between the hedges again. Get well you hairy Dog! Woof Woof!!

ga gator

October 4th, 2012
8:59 am

Old school and a great kid and receiver. He reminds me of one of ours during the 90’s by the name of Chris Doering. Hope he fully recovers and plays next year.

Depth is key

October 4th, 2012
9:04 am

I don’t want to read thru all of the posts, but only 1 person mentioned Jay Rome on the first page of comments. That guy is a beast and can line up in the slot like Orson Charles and create mismatches. I still think that Mitchell should focus on DEFENSE. Brandon Smith is getting eaten alive on his side. Let him play corner in the nickel sets and maybe return kicks (he was OK at it last year). With Mitchell and Cummings playing on the outside, CTG can fill the box and force the evil genuis to try and throw the ball. That being said, the key to the game will be hitting Shaw a few times early and see if that effects his play

Depth is key

October 4th, 2012
9:08 am

Tampa Gator has it right about Marlon Brown. Great size and hands and when healthy, has proven himself. Look for him and Rome to run crosses across the middle while King and Concley stretch it deep. A screen or 2 to the best RB combo in the nation wouldn’t hurt either

Sharkman

October 4th, 2012
9:27 am

This sux!!! Thank God we’re loaded still at receiver. If only Woot can hang onto the ball more often we’ll be fine as CMR said. GO DAWGS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Army Strong

October 4th, 2012
9:41 am

I’ve loved what I’ve seen out of Conley since he got on campus, but don’t be surprised if a guy like Justin Scott-Wesley gets some reps. He isn’t the complete Hines Ward-type receiver that Bennett is, but he is as good of a downfield threat as this offense has.

braveheart dog

October 4th, 2012
11:34 am

interesting that the student Michael Bennett knows how to correctly use “historic” as in “historic season”, when neither MG or AJC can correctly use “historical”

DirtyDawg

October 4th, 2012
11:57 am

I believe that Mr Bennett’s presence on the sideline will push us over the top…Rather have him onte field but his just being there will be a plus. SC will be tough and SS will, undoubtedly, have an ‘ace up his hole’…so to speak. But this Georgia team ain’t gonna flinch. Gotta keep those DEs off Murray though.

Scotty

October 4th, 2012
12:34 pm

Such a great and talented receiver; very….very bad news for the bulldawg nation. My prayers are with you Michael. I hope you have a full and speedy recovery. Thank you for your fantastic play in the first 5 games…you are the MAN!

real american

October 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

michael and i are cousins–my heart sank when i heard of his injury–he’s a great young guy and our entire families prayers are with him in his recovery and future play

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