Prayers go out for Fallen Teammate

ATHENS - Georgia officials were closely guarding the status of cornerback Decory Bryant on Monday as his teammates and coaches prepared to play the rest of the season without him.

 Decory Bryant had surgery on his neck this weekend at St. Mary's Hospital after injuring it in the No. 4 Bulldogs' 16-13 victory over UAB. Ron Courson, Georgia's director of sports medicine, said Monday that Bryant's parents have asked that no information about his condition be released, but it was clear Monday that his teammates were concerned.

 "He might not ever play again," wide receiver Fred Gibson. "Things happen. It's just sad that this happened."

 "We're just praying for him and hoping he makes a speedy recovery," safety Thomas Davis said.

 Only a few of Bryant's teammates have been able to go see him in his hospital room, where he remained Monday. They have been told that he could be back at the team's practice facility by the middle of the week, several said.

 "He's in good spirits," said cornerback Bruce Thornton, who saw Bryant on Sunday. "They say he's rehabbing and recovering real fast."

 Thornton said the Bulldogs could rally around Bryant much like they did around former defensive tackle David Jacobs, whose football career was cut short in 2001 after he suffered a stroke.

 "It's happened a lot since Coach Richt has been here, a lot of significant injuries," Thornton said.

 Bryant, who had 26 tackles this season, has normal use of his limbs and is not expected to have his future physical movement impaired by the injury. Secondary coach Willie Martinez said Bryant is aware it could have been much worse.

 "He's been so positive," Martinez said. "He's got a great personality. He's a tough competitor, tough kid."

 Sophomore Tim Jennings will take Bryant's place at cornerback, and senior Kenny Bailey will fill the nickel back role that Jennings has played in the last five games. Mike Gilliam, a converted tailback, becomes Georgia's third cornerback.

 "Obviously depth becomes an issue now," Martinez said.

 The Bulldogs will move DeMario Minter from safety back to cornerback at least for now, Martinez said. Middle Georgia product Tra Battle will move back into the safety rotation to fill Minter's spot.

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