South Carolina Week: Tuesday News and Notes

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

NO FLU FOR PUGH

It was Wednesday night last week when defensive back Makiri Pugh started feeling ill. By Thursday, he was sick enough to seek medical attention, and that afternoon he tested positive for the swine flu.

The test results weren't the bad news, however. It was the realization that, after redshirting last season, Pugh would have to wait another week before playing in his first game that really hurt.

"I was just more devastated that I couldn't play," Pugh said. "I was just disappointed I didn't get to travel with the team and didn't get to play. It would have been my first game."

Pugh said his symptoms came and went, but said he think the illness was as bad as the more typical incarnations of the flu.

Still, he had to be quarantined to prevent other players from contracting the illness, which meant no trip to Oklahoma and a lonely Saturday afternoon watching the game by himself.

"I was well taken care of," Pugh said. "It wasn't a big deal, but it wasn't the most fun time."

Pugh returned to full practice for the first time since testing positive Tuesday, and he said he expects to play against South Carolina.

So far, Richt said no other players have exhibited symptoms of the illness, which is a good sign.

"If a guy is going to get infected with it from a teammate, it usually manifests itself pretty quickly," Richt said. "So we feel that we are out of that situation."

THE WAITING GAME

Caleb King's return to practice has been anticipated for nearly a month, but Tuesday head coach Mark Richt said he thinks the sophomore tailback will be ready to play against South Carolina after being limited since Aug. 12 with a sore hamstring.

"We do plan on him playing in the game," Richt said. "We do plan on playing him, but how much depends on this week's practice and what he does when he gets his opportunities."

By the time the players came off the practice field, however, offensive coordinator Mike Bobo said he was less confident that King would be ready to go.

"He did not do much. He was wearing a green jersey. We're hopeful that he'll play, but he's still not practicing that much."

In King's absence, Richard Samuel ran 20 times for 87 yards, but Georgia's running game sputtered for long periods during the game, particularly when Samuel was off the field. That means a return by King could be a big lift for the offense, Samuel said.

"I feel like having him back brings a different aspect to the running game," he said, "providing something else the defense has to look forward to. It'll be good to have him back."

HONORING THE HEROES

Georgia will wear a helmet sticker during Saturday's game to honor the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, headquartered in Macon.

The 48th is currently deployed in Afghanistan and includes about 3,000 Georgians, and have lost seven soldiers in the line of duty.

"This is a sign of our appreciation for all the men and women who are serving and for their families as well," Richt said. "We owe them all the support we can give."


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