The record-setting quarterback endured a season-ending ACL tear in his left knee during the second quarter of last night’s 59-17 win over Kentucky, according to a statement released by the school. Post-surgery rehabilitation will begin immediately and a full recovery is expected, according to Georgia Director of Sports Medicine Ron Courson.
Murray’s mother reported via Facebook that Murray has minimal swelling in his knee and will not have to wait the customary 10 to 14 days to conduct surgery. She disclosed that Murray will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, though Georgia coach Mark Richt wouldn’t confirm the exact date.
Richt told reporters on his Sunday teleconference that Murray suffered the injury well before he left last night’s game. He said that Murray tore the ACL on a non-contact occurrence during a 29-yard zone read run on the first play of the second quarter, his second-longest rush of the season.
Murray had the chance to scamper out of bounds on the play but cut and picked up a few additional yards while sustaining the injury in the process.
“As he was changing direction, that’s when it happened,” Richt said.
Murray threw a touchdown pass to tight end Arthur Lynch three plays later, and remained in the game through Georgia’s next offensive drive (13 total plays) before ultimately leaving after being thrown to the ground by Kentucky defensive end Za’Darius Smith on a play that resulted in an interception.
“We were going to get him out because you could tell something was going on, but he just refused,” Richt said. “I think he kind of knew. He knew something had happened but didn’t know what. He’s a competitor. He wants to play."
Richt also refuted the notion that Murray furthered the injury by staying in the game.
“When the MRI was done the only injury he sustained was an ACL injury, so it’s not like he added cartilage damage or bones or hips – nothing like that. The only thing that I understand is that the ACL is pretty clean.”
Richt said he told the quarterback after the run that he’d have to convince offensive coordinator Mike Bobo that he had the ability to stay in the game. Bobo said he had concerns after Murray’s run and wanted to take the quarterback out, but Murray fought to keep the spot.
“I tried to put [backup] Hutson [Mason] in but basically he wouldn’t let me,” Bobo said of Murray after the game. “It speaks to who he is and his toughness. He wanted to lead this team his last night in Sanford Stadium.”
Murray was seen leaving in a Georgia State Patrol just after halftime, and was reportedly taken to St. Mary’s to undergo an MRI. He was on crutches, wearing street clothes and accompanied by his mother and girlfriend.
Dawg Post was the first to accurately report Murray’s departure.
Murray became the fourth offensive skill-player for Georgia to end his season with an ACL tear, alongside wideouts Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley, and tailback Keith Marshall.
“It’s been one of those freaky years,” Bobo said. “You’re having injuries right and left, and having to adjust.”
Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech will be the first game Murray has missed since arriving at Georgia. The redshirt senior’s program-high streak of 52 consecutive starts will come to an end.
“This team, we depend on him,” tailback Todd Gurley said of Murray. “He’s our leader. It just hit me as far as that I won’t be out on the field with him.”
Despite the severity of the injury, Richt believes that Murray will bounce back in time to secure a spot with an NFL team.
“I think he’ll get drafted,” Richt said. “It’s a surgery that’s quite common and a rehab that’s quite common. It’s very common for everybody to get back full speed.”
Murray will leave Georgia as one of the program’s most decorated quarterbacks. He is the SEC all-time leader in completions (921), passing yards (13,166), touchdown passes (121) and total offense (13,562).
Though Murray has not been available to the media – and likely won’t be for some time – he took to Twitter on Sunday morning and thanked his fans.
“Wanna thank everyone for making our senior night so special! Truly am blessed to have been your QB for 4 years! … Thank you for all the prayers over the past few hours. Gonna come back stronger than ever! Dawg for life. Truly love you all #GoDawgs,” Murray said via Twitter.
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