Foster given clearance to practice

Foster passed the eight-week anniversary of his Aug. 4 surgery Sunday.

ATHENS, Ga. - Georgia offensive tackle George Foster was cleared by his doctors Monday to join practice, but he was still considering his options to make sure he wasn't rushing his comeback.

Originally expected to miss 12 weeks after suffering a broken right wrist in a car accident, Foster passed the eight-week anniversary of his Aug. 4 surgery Sunday. The senior from Macon says he wants to do what is best for the team and for his future as he considers the possibility of playing in a game as early as Saturday at Alabama.

Because he had to attend a class, Foster couldn't join practice Monday night. "That gives me more time to think about it,'' Foster said after receiving the clearance from his doctors.

Georgia director of sports medicine Ron Courson planned to talk with Foster's parents Monday night and said Foster's "status is still unclear'' for this week.

Said Foster: "Basically, it's up to me right now as far as practice goes this week. ... I guess if practice goes good, I'll (play). If I start (practice today), I will be prepared for Saturday.''

When he plays in a game, Foster will be fitted with a hard cast that will be covered with one-half inch of foam. He would wear the cast only during games.

"(Doctors) feel I could go out there and be secure if I play,'' said Foster, before adding "As with any injury, there is always the risk of re-injury.''

Foster started nine games at split tackle last season and again was expected to play a leading role in a three-man rotation with Jon Stinchcomb and Kareem Marshall at the two tackle spots.

Among issues he has to determine in practice is if he will be more comfortable on the right or left side of the line, since he will wear the cast on his right hand.

"I don't know how it would feel,'' Foster said. "I guess if everything feels good and I'm able to help, I would go.''

Meanwhile, center Russ Tanner - who also was expected to compete for a starting job - said Monday he probably is still a week away as he returns from surgery to repair torn tendons in his right hand.

"I'm just going to see where I'm at, but as far as playing in a game, probably not this week,'' Tanner said.

Tanner said he is able to grip the ball "fairly well'' for his snapping duties, but he says he has more problems blocking.

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