Fully healed and making his mark this spring

ATHENS, Ga. - Last season, <b>Reggie Weeks</b> felt he was ready to play but could not get on the field. This spring, Weeks can't get off the field.

Posting a spring performance that confirms his full recovery from a serious knee injury in the summer before the 2001 season, Reggie Weeks is the first-team split guard and should remain in the competition for a starting job even when injured guards Josh Brock and Bartley Miller return for preseason drills.

"It has been a very interesting spring,'' Weeks said. "We were slim (on the offensive line) starting off and then it seemed like we had a player go down almost every day.''

Coaches will depend on walk-on players to put together two starting offensive lines in Saturday's 2 p.m. G-Day game at Sanford Stadium, but Weeks' move up the depth chart is based on more than just injuries to other players.

Entering the spring, Weeks was listed behind Miller at tight guard - the guard which lines up on the side of the offensive line with the tight end. Weeks' progress has been steady the last two years, but Saturday will be his first chance to line up in a game situation.

"Last year, I felt I was ready to play, but they were holding me back,'' said Weeks, who was in uniform for several games but did not play. "I was the first person they have had come back from this injury, and they were being careful with it.''

On Aug. 15, 2001, Weeks - then a defensive tackle - suffered a dislocated left knee in practice. The damage to the arteries around the knee was so severe that Weeks - then a true freshman - was told he probably would lose his leg.

"With that type of injury, the chance of a someone losing his leg is about 60 percent, even with immediate surgical attention," Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson said Tuesday.

Weeks was fortunate to beat those odds, and he also was fortunate that he did not suffer serious nerve damage.

"From a vascular standpoint, he is well-healed,'' Courson said. "He's looking good. His strength is normal.''

Now Weeks' playing time will be determined only by his performance. He has boosted his status by participating in every spring practice as Miller (shoulder surgery), Brock (sprained ankle), tackle Dennis Roland (lower leg), Russ Tanner (neck) and others have suffered injuries. Roland and Tanner are back in practice, but Brock and Miller will not return this spring.

"I can't complain about a lack of work, that's for sure,'' Weeks said with a laugh.

The first-string offensive line Tuesday included Randall Swoopes at center, Weeks and Tanner at the guards and Daniel Inman and Max Jean-Gilles at the tackles.

Weeks says he does not know if he will compete with Miller (tight guard) or Brock (split guard) for a starting job in August.

"For now, all I know is I'm the first-string split guard on G-Day game,'' Weeks said. "That's enough for now.''

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