Weeks offers extra motivation for Dawgs

ATHENS - When Georgia players run onto the field at Sanford Stadium before Saturday's game against Auburn, the Bulldog wearing No. 67 will be thinking about more than a game.

Only three months ago, Reggie Weeks did not know if doctors would be able to save his left foot or even his leg. During preseason practice, the freshman defensive lineman from Smiths, Ala., severely tore all three arteries below the knee.

Emergency surgery was performed that night, and blood-thinning medicine caused such swelling that long incisions had to be made in both sides of his lower leg to provide relief, leading to several follow-up procedures and a skin graft to close the wounds.

Hospitalized for 15 days, Weeks lost 35 pounds, but the surgery was successful.

Last week, Weeks began jogging. On Monday, for the first time he jogged a mile. On Saturday, he will lead the Bulldogs onto the field for their game against Auburn.

"It's kind of a miracle," Weeks said Monday.

Weeks also tore the posterior ligament in his left knee, but not the anterior cruciate ligament, which would have been more serious. The posterior ligament can be repaired without additional surgery.

More good news from the surgery was the fact Weeks didn't suffer the nerve damage that made running back Albert Hollis' knee injury last spring even more serious.

Weeks also tore the posterior ligament - this time in his right knee - midway through his senior season at Smiths Station High School, limiting him to five games.

The setback in high school was frustrating, but this summer's injury meant more than just another rehabilitation period.

"At one point, I wasn't even thinking about football," Weeks said. "I was just trying to get back on my feet. It scared me. I thought about not playing football again."

Weeks remembers suffering the injury and knowing "it was something bad" both by the pain in his leg and the concerned looks of those attending to him. When an ambulance was brought onto the practice fields, everyone knew the situation was serious.

"It was a very significant injury," said Ron Courson, Georgia director of sports medicine. "It was a tremendous amount to handle for an 18-year-old. I just cannot imagine anyone handling this better than he has. He's had great support from his family and teammates."

Hollis also will run out on the field with the team.

"They've had an influence on the team," Courson said. "It keeps things in perspective with a guy who may be feeling down about a sprained ankle to look over and see Weeks on one side of him and Hollis on the other.

Courson said it's possible Weeks may participate in spring practice. For now, Weeks is content to focus on his big day Saturday.

"Auburn was next-door for me," he said. "They recruited me too, but it was too close to home. Knowing that this is going to be the game I lead the team out on the field just makes it even better."

Notebook

  • ADRINE LOST FOR YEAR: Georgia received some unexpected bad injury news Monday when it was learned starting defensive end Bruce Adrine will be lost for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

    Adrine suffered the injury in practice last Wednesday, but it was not until Monday that the severity of the injury was known. Adrine, a senior, has started all seven games, recording 27 tackles and six quarterback pressures. He hurt the same knee last season and was limited to only three starts.

    Josh Mallard is the likely replacement for Adrine, though Mallard also has been needed to add depth at defensive tackle. Freshman Robert Geathers also could see more time.

  • TV TIME: Georgia's game Nov. 17 at Mississippi will be televised by Jefferson-Pilot and kickoff at 12:30 p.m.

    Following Saturday's 3:30 p.m. home game against Auburn and the game in Oxford, Miss., Georgia will play at Georgia Tech on Nov. 24. That game was originally planned for ABC at 8 p.m. but has been switched to 7:45 p.m. on ESPN.

    Georgia's final regular-season game, the rescheduled home game against Houston, is set for Dec. 1 at 1 p.m.

    -Contact Odum at CEOdum@aol.com


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