George Pickens injury update, recovery timeline: Will Georgia WR play in 2021?

The Georgia Bulldogs have suffered a serious blow with George Pickens suffering a torn ACL. Is there any chance he plays next season?

The Georgia Bulldogs are annually in the mix at the top of the SEC and in the picture as a national title contender. But their chances in both cases next season have already been dampened significantly. According to the Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald and others, wide receiver George Pickens suffered a torn right ACL in practice on Tuesday.

Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart released a statement on Wednesday. It was also announced Pickens has already entered a pre-op rehab program under the supervision of the UGA medical staff.

“The good news is that the MRI showed it to be an isolated injury with no other structures involved,” the statement reads. “George is a hard worker. I know he will bring the same work ethic to rehab that he shows in practice every day.”

As a freshman in 2019, Pickens led the Bulldogs with 49 catches for 727 yards and eight touchdowns. He played eight games last season, tallying 36 catches for 513 yards and six touchdowns. In JT Daniels’ four starts, Pickens had 23 receptions for 373 yards and four touchdowns with back-to-back 100-yard games to end the season.

Is there any chance George Pickens plays in 2021?

Two things are working in favor of Pickens recovering in time to play sometime in 2021. The first is the timing of the injury, over five months before the Sept. 4 season opener against Clemson. The second is the MRI results, which according to Smart showed an isolated injury with no damage to other structures in the knee. As a residual of the MRI, the fact he’s in a pre-op rehab program so quickly seems to bode well for surgery happening quickly. Then, the recovery process can obviously start.

If Pickens is able to play next season, it will be very late. Like SEC Championship Game/bowl game/College Football Playoff late. But there is a chance he will be cleared to play before the Bulldogs’ season ends, as small as the percentage is.