Georgia running back Nick Chubb is expected to miss the rest of the season after injuring his left knee Saturday in the Bulldogs’ loss at Tennessee.
“I think it’s pretty safe to say he’s out,” coach Mark Richt said Sunday on his weekly teleconference.
The star back was injured on the first play from scrimmage in the 38-31 loss.
Georgia’s director of sports medicine said in a release Sunday that Chubb damaged several ligaments and cartilage, but did not have an ACL tear. Director Ron Courson added the damage is repairable, full recovery is expected and surgery will take place within two weeks.
Chubb came into the game with 13 consecutive 100-yard rushing games. After a 2-yard run, he was hit by cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and later by linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin. Chubb was taken from the field and returned to watch the second half from the sideline.
Richt declined to speculate on a schedule for Chubb’s return.
“All rehab is tough, but the best news is that there was no damage to a nerve or anything vascular, like an artery,” Richt said. “That was the best news of all and of course the ACL not being damaged was great as well. Just like Ron said, we feel the damage is all repairable and that he can make a full recovery. It’s just going to be a matter of how much time, and we’re not quite sure of the timetable on that.”
Fellow sophomore Sony Michele will now pick up the rushing load for Georgia (4-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference), which fell out of the Top 25 on Sunday.
Michele rushed 22 times for a career-high 145 yards against Tennessee and caught three passes for 26 yards. But he fumbled on a kickoff return late in the second quarter to help Tennessee come back from a 24-3 deficit to outscore the Bulldogs 35-7 the rest of the way.
This marks the third consecutive season Georgia has seen its top running back go down to injury. In 2013, Keith Marshall tore his ACL in a victory at Tennessee and, last year, Todd Gurley suffered an ACL injury in the fourth quarter of Georgia’s victory over Auburn in Athens.
On the season, Michele has rushed 63 times for 423 yards and four touchdowns and has caught 12 passes for 174 yards and three touchdowns.
Richt added that he expected Marshall, who played in but three games last season due to injury, to take a more prominent role as the Bulldogs’ top backup.
“We definitely need more than one back to run in the ballgame, so Keith will get more opportunities and I wouldn’t be surprised to see Brendan Douglas get more opportunities as well,” Richt said.
Georgia hosts Missouri on Saturday night.