Sophomore Blake Barnes missed the Bulldogs’ spring practice and will miss the remaining two after suffering a fracture in the tip of the thumb on his throwing hand (right). Barnes was injured when his hand hit the helmet of a defender during a follow-through in Monday’s scrimmage.
“It immediately started swelling, and I kind of figured it was a break,” Barnes said. “I’ve had jams and bruises, and that was a completely different pain than this was.”
Barnes also has a knee injury that he has played on for more than a week. The knee injury will require arthroscopic surgery next week and need three to four weeks of rehabilitation, he said. Barnes’ thumb isn’t expected to require surgery and will be healthy by the time he’s back from knee surgery.
“It’s tough, just because I’ve worked so much, so long this spring,” Barnes said. “After pushing through (the knee injury) and then breaking my thumb, it’s just kind of frustrating.”
Missing the last two days of practice, including Saturday’s G-Day game, probably won’t hurt Barnes much in the competition, Coach Mark Richt said.
“He had a good spring,” Richt said. “He really improved a lot on the knowledge of the game and throwing to the right people. He was hot and cold with his accuracy, but I thought he grew.”
Barnes’ absence will mean more repetitions for the three remaining quarterbacks – senior Joe Tereshinski, redshirt freshman Joe Cox and true freshman Matthew Stafford – and will be a particular boost for Cox and Stafford. Barnes was scheduled to work with the first-team offense during the G-Day game. Now Cox and Stafford will each get a turn with the first-team offense while also playing with the second team, Richt said.
Cox and Stafford each took a turn with the first-team offense in the first two spring scrimmages.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Bryan Evans, who was immobilized after a scary hit during Monday’s scrimmage, also will miss the rest of spring practice but is expected to make a full recovery in time for the fall.
Evans suffered a spinal cord concussion while attempting to make a tackle. He spent Monday night in the hospital and underwent a series of tests to make sure the damage was not more extensive.
Evans couldn’t feel or move his upper body or arms immediately after colliding with defensive teammate Ben Boyd while both players were trying to make a tackle, he said.
“I didn’t know what to think for a second,” he said. “I was real shaky when I was on the ground. I was kind of nervous going through the scan too because I really didn’t know what had happened for my body just to stop moving for a while. I just wanted to know if I could play ball again. When (the doctor) told me I would have no limitations in the fall, it relieved me a lot.”
There is no question Evans will be back for the fall, Richt said.
True freshman defensive lineman Ricardo Crawford was injured during Wednesday’s practice. The 303-pound tackle left the practice facility with an athletic trainer and was wearing a neck brace, but his injury isn’t believed to be serious. Neither Richt nor defensive coordinator Willie Martinez even knew Crawford had been injured.
Crawford collided with walk-on lineman Justin Lyles during a drill, defensive lineman Ray Gant said.
“He went down, rolled around a little bit and got up,” Gant said. “He should be fine by G-Day, I think. They didn’t say it was anything serious.”
Tight end Tripp Chandler sat out for the second straight day due to a concussion. He said he expects to participate in G-Day.