Georgia two-time All-American tight end Brock Bowers sustained a high ankle sprain in Saturday’s win at Vanderbilt. The junior will undergo tightrope surgery today and likely miss 4-6 weeks.
Georgia (7-0 straight up, 1-5-1 against the spread) failed to cover the number in the 37-20 road win over the Commodores as a 32.5-point favorite. The Bulldogs have an open date this weekend before facing Florida in Jacksonville on Oct. 28.
Bowers had four catches for 22 yards and 21 rushing yards on two attempts in the win at Vandy. In seven games this year, he has 41 receptions for 567 yards and four touchdowns. Bowers also has 28 rushing yards and one TD on six carries for a 4.7 yards-per-carry average.
Bowers hasn’t missed a game since arriving in Athens in 2021. As a true freshman, he garnered second-team All-American honors and helped UGA to its first national championship in 41 years. In 15 games, Bowers hauled in 56 receptions for 882 yards and 13 TDs. He also had 56 rushing yards, one TD and a 14.0 YPC average.
In 2022 as a sophomore, Bowers had 63 catches for 942 yards and seven TDs. He added 109 rushing yards and three TDs with a 12.1 YPC average.
In 37 career games, Bowers has 160 receptions for 2,391 yards and 24 TDs. He has 193 career rushing yards, five TDs and a 10.2 YPC average.
Bowers ranks second in program history in career TD catches, fifth in career receiving yards, sixth in career receptions, 10th in career TDs from scrimmage and 14th in average yards per carry.
In 2022, Bowers won the Mackey Award given to the nation’s premier tight end and also earned first-team All-American honors. In the 37 career games Bowers has played, the Bulldogs own a 36-1 record. The lone defeat came against Alabama in the 2021 SEC Championship Game.
Going into Week 7, FanDuel had UGA installed as a -155 favorite to win the SEC Championship Game. The betting shop now has the Bulldogs as -150 ‘chalk’ to prevail in Atlanta on the first Saturday in December. Alabama has the next-shortest odds at +195, followed by LSU at +950.
FanDuel currently has UGA and Michigan as +270 co-favorites to win the College Football Play0ff. Meanwhile, DraftKings has the Bulldogs and Wolverines as +280 co-favorites to win the CFP.
UGA will host Missouri and Ole Miss on Nov. 4 and Nov. 11, respectively, after facing the Gators. When the Bulldogs go to Tennessee on Nov. 18, Bowers will be 35 days removed from suffering the injury and 33 days since surgery.
When former Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa returned from tightrope surgery to play vs. LSU in 2019, he was only 20 days removed from going under the knife.
Here’s the analysis renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Michael Gilmore provided MajorWager a few days before Tagovailoa took the field against the Tigers. Gilmore performs several of these surgeries per week.
We should point out that recovery time for a TE who has to make cuts and move laterally on every play is vastly different from that of a QB. In Alabama’s 2019 home loss vs. LSU, Tagovailoa was fine when he could stand in the pocket out of the shotgun formation and make throws without much pressure.
However, when Tagovailoa was forced out of the pocket on that day in Tuscaloosa, that’s when we saw him begin to struggle. In fact, on his first attempt to scramble down in the red zone on the opening drive vs. LSU, Tagovailoa had a clear path to the end zone but coughed up an unforced fumble at about the 5-yard line.
By the fourth quarter, Tagovailoa was clearly laboring and limping badly.
Is it a realistic hope for UGA fans that Bowers could return and be in uniform at Neyland Stadium in 33 days? Probably, but it seems unlikely that he would be 100 percent that soon.
I have a wager on Bowers to go ‘over’ 725.5 receiving yards in UGA’s 12 regular-season games. He’s 159 yards shy of that number right now.