Linebackers dealing with injuries

ATHENS - The Bulldogs' linebacking corps was in shambles by Monday's second practice.

Starter Danny Verdun Wheeler sat out due to an ankle injury, Jamario Smith missed due to cramps, and freshman Tavares Kearney couldn't participate due to what could be a serious knee injury.

"It's similar to what D.J. had a few years ago," Coach Mark Richt said. "I don't know if it's as severe. There is a capsule (on the knee), and we think it's a little bit frayed. If it's a little bit, it's not that big a deal. If it's a lot, then you might have to clean it out (with surgery)."

An MRI was performed on Kearney's knee, and the Bulldogs will decide later this week how to treat the injury. Shockley had surgery on a similar injury in October 2003 and was not able to return to full speed action until the following fall.

Verdun Wheeler, the expected weakside starter, was hurt during Saturday's scrimmage. He was on crutches during Monday's practice, but he wouldn't rule out being available for Wednesday's scrimmage.

Jarvis Jackson (shoulder), who could play either the middle or weakside spots, still has not been cleared for full contact.

"A lot of guys have little nicks that come with football," Verdun Wheeler said. "Right now, it's no big deal. I think everybody will be at 100 percent by Sept. 3."

The Bulldogs have moved Olaolu Sanni-Osomo from safety to linebacker to help strengthen their ranks.

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