Tanner may play against Alabama

Russ Tanner may be ready by the Alabama game

ATHENS, Ga. - When it plays at Alabama next week, Georgia's offensive line may be close to full strength for the first time this season.

Center Russ Tanner, returning from surgery to repair two torn tendons in his right hand, snapped the ball "very well'' in practice Wednesday, according to Coach Mark Richt.

Tanner, a redshirt freshman who had been competing with Ian Knight for the starting job, wore a special sling on his right hand when snapping. The device links his index finger, which was most affected by the injury, to his middle finger for added stability.

"I did pretty good snapping, and now I have to see how it does with contact,'' Tanner said Wednesday.

The encouraging news on Tanner comes one day after Richt said senior tackle George Foster, recovering from a broken wrist, could play as early as the Alabama game for No. 8 Georgia (3-0 overall, 1-0 Southeastern Conference).

With Tanner sidelined, starting guard Kevin Breedlove has been the backup center. With Foster out, Georgia has had only freshmen behind starting tackles Jon Stinchcomb and Kareem Marshall.

Neither Tanner nor Foster is expected to play in Saturday's 1 p.m. game against New Mexico State, but Tanner is growing impatient. Before this week, he has spent most of the last month running during practice.

"I don't know if I'm in football shape, but if I keep running I'll be a tight end before long,'' Tanner joked.

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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