August 25, 2009: Georgia News and Notes

ATHENS - David Hale's news and notes from Georgia's fall practices.

JONESING FOR A RETURN

One week after suffering a minor ankle injury, center Ben Jones has still not returned to practice. Richt said the injury appears to be healing on schedule, however, and he expects Jones to resume some work this week.

"I would hope Friday, but my guess is he'll begin to do some things Friday and Saturday and by Monday he'll be full speed," Richt said.

Jones is expected to be the starting center when Georgia takes on Oklahoma State on Sept. 5, and after starting 10 games last season, Richt said he isn't overly concerned about the missed reps for Jones.

"He's experienced enough, he's far enough in the lead as our No. 1 center that I'm sure we'd let him play if he was deemed healthy on Friday before the game," Richt said. "I don't know if he would start, but I do think he'll be back before then."

RETURNING TO RETURNS

Senior safety Bryan Evans was sidelined for nearly 10 days with a hamstring injury, but he's back at work in the secondary, and he said he could soon resume handling kick-return duties, too.

"It's still there, I've just got to get back healthy and I should be healthy by the first game," Evans said. "So if they throw me back there, I'm gonna be there."

Evans said he is one of several Bulldogs, including freshman Branden Smith, sophomore Brandon Boykin, junior Vance Cuff and redshirt freshman Carlton Thomas, working on kick returns.

Evans' roommate, Prince Miller is the leading candidate to handle punt-return duties, and Evans said the two have managed to trade at least a few barbs about who might rack up more return yardage this season.

"We kind of talk about it," Evans said, "but not too much because hopefully when I get back healthy I'll be blocking for him on punt returns and he'll be blocking for me on kickoffs, so it's kind of a mutual thing."

INJURY UPDATES

Freshman offensive lineman Chris Burnette sat out a second straight day with an ankle injury, but Richt said it's not serious.

"I don't know if he'd go tomorrow or not," Richt said. "I see him jogging around and doing some functional things on the side, so he's not far away. He's not in a boot or crutches or anything."

Starting middle linebacker Akeem Dent also missed Tuesday's practice while still nursing a sore hamstring. Dent said he's feeling better, but trainers have cautioned him to take things slow. He said he will not participate in today's practice game. Tailback Caleb King remained sidelined for a 12th straight practice.

Left tackle Trinton Sturdivant returned to practice after a one-day absence due to illness. Darius Dewberry and Aron White were also a full go for Tuesday's work after missing time with hamstring injuries. Safety Quintin Banks remains sidelined with a knee injury and Richt said Banks is likely to miss the first game against Oklahoma State.


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