Although the Bulldogs released a statement Monday saying he would be out 3-4 weeks, Richt is holding out hope Jackson could return for the Sept. 24 game against Mississippi State.
"Coaches always hope against hope," he said Tuesday.
Jackson is "very probable" for the Oct. 8 game against Tennessee, Richt said.
Danny Verdun Wheeler will be moved to the weakside to take Jackson's place until he returns, and Dannell Ellerbe, who is probable for this week due to a sprained ankle, will back him up there. Olaolu Sanni-Osomo, a converted safety, will back up Brandon Miller at strongside linebacker, Richt said.
Jamario Smith, a graduate of Mary Persons, "is our putty man across the board," Richt said. "He can fill any of the positions."
NOW OR NEVER: The clock is ticking for the Bulldogs' true freshmen who have yet to play this year. Of the 12 who could play this season, only five have seen the field.
"It's getting close to that time when you have to decide, but you still don't know for sure," Richt said.
Defensive tackle Jeff Owens, wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, safety CJ Byrd, tight end Tripp Chandler and linebacker Marcus Washington have played. Defensive end Roderick Battle, safety Donavon Baldwin, cornerback Bryan Evans, wide receiver Michael Moore, center Ian Smith, defensive tackle Kade Weston and quarterback Joe Cox have not played. RARE APPEARANCE: Punter Gordon Ely-Kelso was an invited attendee Tuesday at the Bulldogs' weekly news conference, which usually only draws the team's most high-profile players.
"It's a little bit of a confirmation that you had a good game and at least somebody noticed," the junior kicker said.
Ely-Kelso didn't get the same kind of respect from the SEC. Despite a 41.8-yard per kick average, he is not listed among the conference's top 10 punters in its weekly release, apparently due to a clerical oversight.
His average is the sixth-best in the league, but it's more than average that caught his coaches' attention against South Carolina. He pinned the Gamecocks inside the 20-yard line four times on five punts.
The only time he didn't was late in the fourth quarter, when his 32-yard kick rolled out of bounds at the South Carolina 22.
"I'd like to say they did (tell me to kick it out of bounds), but I totally shanked that one," he said. "And at the worst time."