Head coach Mark Richt said Tuesday that Malcolm Mitchell “would have to have a setback to not play” in Saturday’s game against Vanderbilt. The wide receiver has been sidelined since undergoing arthroscopic surgery to clean up some cartilage damage in mid-August.
He’s missed all of UGA’s four games this season.
This latest health issue, which occurred running routes during summer workouts and dragged on far longer than originally anticipated, continues what’s been a long line of injury setbacks for Mitchell, particularly as it relates to the knees.
Mitchell suffered a torn ACL — celebrating a touchdown, no less — in the season-opening loss to Clemson last year. He was cleared and had been participating — in non-contact fashion — in UGA’s spring practice earlier this year before another leg injury in the first session knocked him out for the remainder of the spring.
Prior to that, he suffered a torn meniscus and had his knee ‘scoped in April of 2013. But wait, there’s more: he didn’t play in the 2012 opener because of an ankle injury, with a hamstring issue costing him three games the year before.
When healthy, Mitchell is productive, as evidenced by his career totals of 85 catches for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns. It’s also evidenced by the fact that, despite missing essentially the entire 2013 season, he was named second-team All-SEC over the summer.
Mitchell’s return is not the only positive receiving news for the Bulldogs as Justin Scott-Wesley is expected to make his 2014 debut against Vandy as well. In October of last year, Scott-Wesley suffered a torn ACL. At the time of the injury, he was UGA’s second-leading receiver with 16 catches for 311 yards and two touchdowns.