Georgia's worst fears were realized Sunday when head coach Mark Richt announced that senior receiver Marlon Brown's Bulldog career is over after tearing his ACL in the third quarter of Saturday's 37-10 win over Ole Miss.
Richt confirmed the news during Sunday evening's weekly teleconference with reporters.
"Marlon, unfortunately, has an ACL injury that will need surgery so his career at Georgia is over, but we're expecting a full recovery," Richt said. "It's an injury that people recover from well and we hope he'll continue his pro career because I think he was well on his way to have that happen for him. We're very sad and sorry that it happened, for Marlon and for Georgia, too. He'll recover and he'll do fine but it's just a hard thing to swallow right now."
It's been an unfortunate situation of circumstances for the Bulldogs, who lost redshirt sophomore Michael Bennett to a torn ACL right before the game against South Carolina.
Brown, meanwhile, was tied with Tavarres King for the team lead in receptions with 27 for 469 yards and four touchdowns before his injury. Saturday, Brown caught three passes for a team-high 113 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass.
The Memphis native finishes his career with 55 catches for 851 yards and eight touchdowns.
With Brown out, Richt mentioned sophomore Chris Conley, senior Taylor Bradberry and redshirt freshman Justin Scott-Wesley will simply have to step up, along with rotation regulars King, Malcolm Mitchell, Rantavious Wooten and Rhett McGowan. Richt added that freshman Blake Tibbs would not figure into the mix.
"We still have some play-makers, Wooten, as you saw made a nice play on a touchdown catch and Malcolm Mitchell while Tavarres King is a guy who has been making plays his whole career for us. Chris Conley has made plays for us over his career, and Rhett McGowan has been very dependable," Richt said. "There are still guys who can do it, but Marlon and Michael were just two outstanding football players. Before the injuries both were leading the team in receptions, and had added some physicality too to that position. We'll miss that. Other guys will just have to step up."
Richt said Brown is staying as positive as he can.
"Obviously, no one enjoys hearing that kind of news. But Marlon's a man now. He's not a boy any more," Richt said. "He's a man and he understands that's part of life. He'll do what he's got to do to rehab and get well."
Brown's injury occurred at the conclusion of a 30-yard pass from quarterback Aaron Murray when Ole Miss safety Trae Elston appeared to tackle him at his knees.
There have been suggestions that Elston may have twisted Brown's knee to cause the injury, but Sunday Richt wasn't ready to lay any blame.
"I didn't really study that. We had a little recruiting going on today and were quickly going on our offensive and defensive game," Richt said. "We're a little behind because we were doing a little recruiting; we didn't just sit there and labor over that."
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Richt said that right guard Chris Burnette (left shoulder sprain) is day-to-day
Georgia (8-1, 6-1) rose to No. 5 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls.