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Friday October 22nd, 2021 5:50AM

Georgia WR Pickens needs knee surgery after practice injury

By The Associated Press

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — In a potentially major blow to one of the nation's top teams, Georgia receiver George Pickens will require knee surgery after being injured during spring practice.

A school statement said Pickens, projected as one of the nation's top receivers going into the 2021 season, sustained the injury to his right knee during a non-contact drill on Tuesday.

An MRI confirmed damage to the anterior cruciate ligament. The school said a full recovery is expected but did not say how long the junior will be out.

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

Pickens has already started his pre-op rehabilitation program under the supervision of the Georgia medical staff.

The 6-foot-3, 201-pound Pickens was picked to the Southeastern Conference all-freshman team in 2019. He followed up with 36 catches for 513 yards and a team-leading six touchdowns in eight games last season.

Georgia went 8-2 and finished No. 7 in The Associated Press rankings, closing out the pandemic-affected season with a last-second victory over Cincinnati in the Peach Bowl.

The Bulldogs are scheduled to open 2021 against powerhouse Clemson on Sept, 4 at Charlotte, North Carolina.

___

More AP college football: https://apnews.com/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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