UPDATE ON STORY I FILED LAST NIGHT . . .
ATHENS — Abry Jones’ high school coach confirmed what had been floated around on social media and hinted by his Georgia coaches and teammates. The Bulldogs’ starting defensive end is likely out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing ankle surgery on Tuesday.
Kevin Kinsler, the head coach at Northside High in Warner Robins, is the only one to provide anything resembling a confirmation and then only reluctantly so. But he did confirm that Jones underwent ankle surgery on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Hospital and is looking at a long recovery as a result.
“I’ve just texted back and forth with his parents a little bit and that’s it,” said Kinsler, who was Jones’ defensive coordinator when he was at Northside. “All we know is the surgery went well and they were talking six to eight weeks. But we haven’t had a chance to sit down and talk with them or anything like that. I imagine it’s been pretty hectic up there.”
Obviously the recovery time will mean Jones will likely be out the rest of the season with a shot of coming back for a post-Christmas bowl game. Jones’ absence with the Bulldogs will be felt on defense.
Jones, a 6-foot-3, 308-pound senior, has started 26 games and played in 45 for the Bulldogs at defensive end. Jones had to sit out the Florida Atlantic game earlier this season with an injury to the same left ankle. He had 17 tackles before having to leave the Kentucky game this past Saturday on Georgia’s second defensive play.
While Jones’ stats don’t raise any eyebrows, he has been known as a stalwart for holding his ground and establishing a defensive edge on the perimeter. Those skills will be missed this Saturday as the Bulldogs try to contain Florida quarterback Jeff Driskell and his band of speedy backs and backfield crossing wideouts.
Garrison Smith, a 6-3, 297-pound junior from Atlanta, will fill start in Jones’ place. Smith has a lot of experience, including a start this season and two last year, and is actually Georgia’s second-leading tackler among down linemen, trailing Big John Jenkins 25 stops to 23. The 6-3, 358-pound Jenkins has also been tackling snaps at Jones’ position, which is essentially a 5-technique tackle, with Kwame Geathers (6-6, 355) getting more snaps at noseguard.
Though Jones’ surgery and recovery time has been widely reported by both reporters and his friends via social media, Georgia coach would not confirm that Jones will be out beyond this Saturday.
“He won’t play this week is all I can confirm,” Richt said on the SEC coaches teleconference call Tuesday. “There’s reason for that, but that’s all I confirm at this point.”
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