He's wearing extra pads and two harnesses, but tight end Bruce Figgins intends to play next Saturday when Georgia returns to action against Tennessee.
Figgins said he has a torn labrum in his left shoulder – an injury he initially suffered in the spring, but severely aggravated against Arizona State two weeks ago. He said the injury will require surgery, but that is an option he's hoping to put off as long as possible.
"We're going to basically see how I feel after the Tennessee game," Figgins said. "I'm doing everything I can to play in this game coming up, watching film, in the weight room, getting treatment."
Figgins said he has no doubt he will play against the Volunteers, a game in which Georgia will be shorthanded at tight end due to a shoulder injury suffered by starter Tripp Chandler last week against Alabama.
Beyond that, however, Figgins doesn't know what the future holds. NCAA rules would allow him to receive a medical redshirt if he does not play beyond the Tennessee game, but that is an option he isn't sure he wants to take.
"I think we have a championship team this year, and I want to be a part of that," Figgins said. "But if I do take the surgery, I do qualify for a redshirt, and there's that route, too."
Figgins said he has most of his range of motion back, despite the protective gear he is wearing. During practice this week, he said he was able to catch nearly every pass thrown to him – including some that required him to reach over his head.
Some blocks he is forced to make cause pain, however, and he said further playing time could cause the injury to worsen.
Head coach Mark Richt said if the medical redshirt was not an option, Figgins would almost certainly try to play out the year, but as it stands, a final decision probably won't be made until the sophomore sees how he holds up in game action.
"If I feel like I'm strong, if I feel like I won't have a problem again, there is a possibility I could go beyond Tennessee," Figgins said. "After Tennessee game, I'll come in Sunday and have the doctors look at it and we'll go from there."
-- Richt said former Bulldog Randall Godfrey addressed the team on Monday and provided just the right amount of motivation following the loss to Alabama. Richt said the team's focus has been sharp this week, particularly after Godfrey's speech.
"We're still very much in control of our destiny as far as the Eastern Division in the Southeastern Conference," Richt said. "If we can play a more disciplined brand of football and continue to improve fundamentally, I think we can get right back on track. It was very good medicine to go back out there and practice."
-- After Knowshon Moreno was forced out of last week's Alabama game with an elbow injury, Richt said he wasn't sure if his star running back would be ready to play against Tennessee on Oct. 11. Moreno, however, never had any doubt.
"I never thought it was broken or anything. I didn't think I was going to be out," Moreno said.
The sophomore tailback, who has 10 rushing touchdowns this season, said he injured the elbow on a blocking play when his arm hit another player's helmet. Moreno said the elbow never swelled significantly, however, and he has complete range of motion.
"Everything's good, everything's fine, there's no worries," Moreno said. "I'll be there (against Tennessee), I'll be ready to go."
-- A bevy of schools with high academic reputations such as Vanderbilt and Wake Forest are having strong years on the football field, but according to ESPN columnist Pat Forde, it's Georgia that has the best combination of smarts and skill.
In a recent column for ESPN.com, Forde ranked this week's AP top 25 in order of each team's APR, which tracks academic progress for their players. The Bulldogs ranked No. 1 with a score of 965, one point ahead of Wake Forest and Penn State.
"That's pretty impressive," Richt said. "I think that's outstanding. It makes you feel like you can have a great athletic experience and a tremendous academic experience all in the same place."
You can read the entire Pat Forde column HERE.
"It's getting better," Richt said. "Will it be ready? I don't know. But he's doing everything he can to be ready. I just don't think it's close enough. He certainly couldn't play this weekend, that's for sure."
-- Defensive end Rod Battle has missed Georgia's past two games with a neck injury. Richt said Battle went in for tests Thursday, but results were not yet available.
-- Offensive lineman Chris Davis did not practice this week as a precautionary move, Richt said. Davis has been battling a hip injury for several weeks, and trainer Ron Courson advised a week off would be helpful in his recovery.
"We just wanted to give him a break on his hip," Richt said. "It had been bothering him, but Ron felt like it's doing him a world of good right now. He'll be back Monday."