"He has a pretty decent range of motion,'' said Richt only one day after saying there was no chance Edwards could return for the Tech game. Added Richt: "If it heals enough, he has a chance, at least a glimmer of hope.''
Said Edwards: "I'm further along than I thought I would be at this point.''
Added Edwards: "It's not fun being out there just cheerleading. I'd rather be in the game. I just want to be out there for my last game (against Georgia Tech). That's something I don't want to miss, but I don't want to rush anything.''
Edwards suffered a separated left shoulder in the fourth quarter of Georgia's win over Mississippi on Nov. 9. He was expected to miss three to six weeks.
As recently as last Saturday night's game at Auburn, Edwards still had his left arm in a sling. As of last week, Edwards was hoping to return in time for the Dec. 7 SEC championship game. Based on his ability to catch passes in receivers' drills with quarterbacks and then from the ball machine Wednesday, Edwards seems to be almost a lock for the Dec. 7 game at the Georgia Dome.
Edwards' ability to return for next week's home game against Georgia Tech may rest on a special pad that will be fitted to his shoulder and will rest under his regular shoulder pads. He did not participate in team drills Wednesday. The special pad will be designed to direct the impact of hits away from his shoulder.
On Wednesday, Edwards said he felt no pain while reaching in any direction for passes but added the shoulder hurt only when "moving straight ahead.''
Despite missing the Auburn game, Edwards already has set career highs this season with 804 yards receiving and 10 touchdown catches. His 47 receptions are six shy of the 53 he caught in 1999 and again in 2000.
Edwards holds the Georgia records for receptions (192), receiving yards (2,893), touchdown catches (29) and most games with 100 yards receiving (10). He is only two touchdown catches away from the SEC career record of 31 set by Florida's Chris Doering from 1992-95.
While Edwards was out with the injury last week, a group of Georgia fans raised the funds to post a tribute to the senior on a billboard in Sandersville, Ga., where he played at Washington County High School. The billboard was painted last Friday.
"I've seen a picture of it on the internet,'' Edwards said. "I talked to my dad today and he said he was just riding down the road and this big, red billboard just caught his eye. I'm going to go home this weekend and take some pictures of it.''
Added Edwards: "It's something special. I know there's no way for me to thank everyone, but I want to thank everybody who stayed on my side. It's really overwhelming that they appreciate me the way they have. "Some strange things have happened to me before, but this might be the strangest. You drop a ball (against Florida) and you end up with more fans on your side than against you. That's one reason I came to Georgia.''
NOTES: Offensive guards Kevin Breedlove (knee) and Alex Jackson (ankle) were in green jerseys but were in full pads Wednesday. Jackson's right ankle was still heavily taped.
"I was told Breedlove will be OK next week,'' said offensive line coach Neil Callaway. "(Jackson's) ankle is still kind of tender. Again, I think it's up in the air. It will probably be Tuesday or Wednesday before we know."
Freshman receiver Mario Raley played ahead of third-year sophomore Reggie Brown most of the second half against Auburn. Richt said Brown "is still working and competing; he just wasn't in there at the time. It's a week to week thing.''
Brown said his lack of playing time was due to "a slight misunderstanding'' with coaches.
Receiver Fred Gibson and tailback Musa Smith practiced after having pins surgically removed from their injured left thumbs Monday. Each will continue to wear a cast on his left hand. On Oct. 22, Gibson had surgery to repair ligament damage and Smith had surgery for a broken thumb.
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