Gaines looks to get Dawgs back on track

ATHENS – Things might be different, Sundiata Gaines thinks, if not for one bad step on Dec. 19.

Georgia's junior point guard stepped on a Jacksonville player's foot that night, straining two ligaments in his right ankle, and he hasn't been the same since. Likewise, neither have the Bulldogs.

Georgia (8-5, 0-1 SEC) has lost four straight heading into tonight's 7:30 p.m. against South Carolina (10-3, 0-0 SEC) in Stegeman Coliseum.

"I think it's affected us a lot because one of my main things is pushing the ball up the floor and getting guys open on the wings and creating for other teammates," Gaines said. "It slows us down as far as running, and we haven't been scoring like we normally would."

After beating then-No. 16 Gonzaga to improve to 8-1, Georgia was averaging 91.7 points per game. It's averaging 58.5 in the last four outings.

Gaines estimates he's playing at 85 percent of full capacity right now, and team doctors have told him not to expect pain-free play until the end of this month. The limitations affect everything from his conditioning to his on-the-ball defense, he said.

"Hopefully, I can recover fast from this injury, and we can get back on track," Gaines said. "It's a real critical time for us right now. It's a time we need to gain back our momentum going into SEC play."

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