Tape It Up: Georgia: Lumpkin Out Of Luck

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Georgia: Lumpkin Out Of Luck

Georgia running back Kregg Lumpkin is no stranger to injury, but this one has to hurt more than all the rest. After missing some time earlier in the season with a broken thumb, the senior sustained a game-ending knee injury on Saturday, an injury serious enough to likely hand Lumpkin a cruelly painful end to his collegiate career.

Lumpkin has probably had more than his fair share of injuries in his career as a Bulldog. Prior to that thumb injury keeping him out of two games earlier this season, Lumpkin tore up his knee on the first day of practice in 2004, forcing him to redshirt the entire season in what should have been his sophomore year. He came back strong and had an excellent season last year, leading the team in rushing with 798 yards and six TDs, but the injury bug has bitten once again.

Through five games this season, Lumpkin has nine rushes for 37 yards and two catches for another 13. He also had one 11-yard kickoff return on the season, and that may be it for the 6-foot-1, 222-pound fifth-year senior, a far cry from the numbers he wanted to end with.

Lumpkin left Saturday's game against Vanderbilt in the third quarter, and will most likely need arthroscopic surgery to clean up damage to the cartilage in his knee, but that will have to wait until the swelling goes down. To make matters worse, the high ankle sprain he sustained on the same play will certainly not help speed along his recovery.

"He may or may not finish the season," head coach Mark Richt said on Saturday. "He's got a significant injury to the knee. He's not going to play anytime soon."

Since Lumpkin already saw time in five games this year, he is not eligible for a sixth year.

Lumpkin's injury is certainly bad news for his own career, but it does not bode well for the Bulldog rushing attack, either. Lumpkin's load was already increased due to a different team injury, as Thomas Brown will be out for a month with a broken collarbone. With Lumpkin out of the question, redshirt freshman Knowshon Moreno will be getting even more attention at the running back spot, which is just fine with him - Moreno had 157 rush yards on Saturday in his first career start, including 123 in the second half, good enough to earn him SEC Freshman of the Week honors.

Moreno currently leads the team in rushing with 619 yards and three touchdowns, with a 5.2 yard-per-carry average, but next week's bye is a huge break for Georgia, as the team will need to find a healthy body to serve as Moreno's replacement. The leading candidates are senior Jason Johnson, who has three career carries to his name, redshirt freshman Shaun Chapas, who has rushed eight times for 24 yards and freshman Kalvin Daniels, who may be brought up from scout team to learn the position, depending on how the injury situation pans out.

With Florida, Kentucky and Auburn next up for Georgia, the Bulldogs are going to need more than one healthy running back if they expect to make a dent in the unbearably tough SEC East.

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