ATHENS — Georgia received an encouraging sign during Tuesday’s practice, and it was wearing the number 26.
Malcolm Mitchell, who has missed the Bulldogs’ last 14 games, made his first appearance on the Woodruff Practice Fields this season. He was not practicing with his teammates, but he was wearing his No. 26 green, non-contact jersey and jogging up and down the sideline in between Georgia’s two grass fields.
“There’s still an outside chance (Mitchell could play against South Carolina), but I think it’s still too early to tell,” offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said. “Right now I would say no but the first of next week could change some things. Hopefully by next Tuesday we’ll know something.”
Considered the Bulldogs’ most explosive wideout, Mitchell hasn’t played in a game or practice since tearing the ACL in his right knee in the first quarter of Georgia’s 2013 game at Clemson. The junior from Valdosta was set to return this season, but suffered a cartilage injury in the same knee the week the Bulldogs were slated to open preseason camp. Mitchell underwent arthroscopic surgery on July 30 and has been undergoing rehabilitation treatments since.
No. 6-ranked Georgia (1-0), which defeated Clemson 45-21 to open the season this past Saturday, is off this Saturday and doesn’t play again until it travels to South Carolina (0-1, 0-1 SEC) on Sept. 13.
Mitchell (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) has missed games every season due to injuries. He has started 19 of the 25 games he has played in and caught 85 passes for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns. Mitchell also has served the Bulldogs as a returner of punts and kickoffs.
Also jogging at but not participating in practice was former Mitchell County standout wide Justin Scott-Wesley. Scott-Wesley is also making his way back from a knee injury but suffered a setback with an ankle sprain two weeks ago.
Receiver Chris Conley (shoulder) and running back Brendan Douglas (unknown) were also dressed out in green jerseys but participating in drills.
Senior Jonathon Rumph did not play Saturday but Bobo said that was simply the coaches’ decision.
“Rumph is still lingering a little bit with an injury but it was more our call,” he said. “But we’re going to have to Rumph and he’s going to have to play for us this season. So this is a big week and a half for him.”