Firmly on their bye week ahead of The Cocktail Party, all Georgia football fans seemingly care about right now is the health of star tight end Brock Bowers' injured ankle. While it seemed as though his presumptive final season at UGA was cooked after he hurt his ankle in the Vanderbilt game last week, ESPN's Pete Thamel reported Bowers will undergo tightrope surgery. He may be out four to six weeks.
While this recovery timeline knocks Bowers out for the Florida game down in Jacksonville in two weeks, home vs. Missouri in three and probably Senior Day vs. Ole Miss in four, we could see Bowers back in time for either the Tennessee game, Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate vs. Georgia Tech, or possibly the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, should the Dawgs even get that far the rest of this season.
This is the toughest stretch of games for the Dawgs the rest of the way. Florida is feisty. Missouri is dangerous. Ole Miss is interesting. Tennessee wants revenge. And the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech might be giant slayers under new head coach Brent Key. Either way, Georgia should be just fine regardless, even without their best player available. If any team can afford to lose its star, it is Georgia.
When asked about Bowers' possible timeline for return, head coach Kirby Smart offered the following.
"There is no timeline for when he comes back to play. The timeline is when he's healthy."
This quote from Smart signifies that Bowers' Georgia career is not over, but they will not rush him back under any circumstances. As long as Georgia is 11-1 heading into Atlanta, the Dawgs are alright.
Kirby Smart provided update on the health of Georgia TE Brock Bowers
If I were Smart, I would keep this as close to the vest as humanly possible. Not only does Bowers' absence create a new wrinkle of intrigue regarding his Georgia program, but it keeps other SEC-contending teams like Ole Miss and Tennessee guessing. Unfortunately, there is no reason for Eliah Drinkwitz's Missouri Tigers to worry about if Bowers will be playing against them at Sanford Stadium.
Even if Mizzou wins the Battle of Columbia over South Carolina, there is a chance they could be paper Tigers at 7-1. Keep in mind that they will be on their bye next week while the Dawgs face the Gators down in Jacksonville. It will not be a trap game for Georgia, but Smart must avoid some 2013 disaster at Sanford vs. Missouri. To date, that was the only time Mizzou has ever defeated Georgia on the field.
Frankly, these next few games are a fantastic opportunity for Smart to push his juggernaut team to be even better. Not only is this sophomore tight end Oscar Delp's time to shine, but Bowers' absence could help fourth-year quarterback Carson Beck emerge as the SEC's Offensive Player of the Year. If he spreads the ball around well to his receivers in Mike Bobo's offense, he may be going to New York.
We've seen quarterbacks return from tightrope surgery in four weeks. Maybe Bowers does the same?