The tailback, who missed the first two games of the season with a hamstring injury, suffered broken jaw and a concussion following a hit in the fourth quarter of Georgia’s loss to LSU last week, and head coach Mark Richt said King was doubtful to play this week against Tennessee.
“There’s a concussion that he also had from the shot that he took, and that’s probably more of a concern right now,” Richt said. “He can’t do anything until the concussion symptoms clear. As soon as they clear, I think they would let him practice immediately with the no-contact and they might OK him to play as early as this week. I don’t think that’s out of the question, but it’s probably not likely.”
King had just seven yards on eight carries last week, but added 30 yards receiving and had been Georgia’s most successful runner in each of the previous two games.
The jaw injury will not require a wire, however, and Richt said there is hope the injury could heal quickly.
“There are different kinds of fractures,” Richt said. “This one the doctors don’t feel will need any type of surgery, and actually, they feel like relatively soon we can protect him to the point where he can play. So it’s not a season-ending thing by any stretch. It might be a stretch to say this week, but we’re not really counting that out.”
True freshman Washaun Ealey saw his first action of the season prior to King’s injury and was the only Bulldogs runner to meet with any type of success against a stout LSU defense.
Still, Richt said he expects Richard Samuel to be the starter this week, just as he has been in each of Georgia’s first five games.
That doesn’t mean Ealey won’t play often, regardless of King’s status, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said, and while the freshman was off the field in most passing situations last week, he could see a far bigger role against Tennessee.
“We wanted his first time out of the box put him in a situation where he could be successful and not rattle him with something where he wasn’t successful and would lose confidence,” Bobo said. “But he’s very capable.”