Georgia's injury-devastated receiving corps may be getting a boost, just in time for what might be the biggest game of the Bulldogs' season.
Mark Richt said Monday that leading receiver Chris Conley may return to the Bulldog lineup against Auburn Saturday, having recovered from the ankle injury that cost him the team's wins over Florida and Appalachian State. Starting tight end Arthur Lynch is also expected to be healthy after being held out against the Mountaineers with bruised ribs.
Tight end Jay Rome is out after suffering a foot injury vs. Appalachian State, because this is 2013 and teams in the SEC East can't have nice things when it comes to the injury report. But with Malcolm Mitchell and Justin Scott-Wesley long since lost for the year, the possibility of having Conley, Lynch and Michael Bennett all available -- the first time that's been the case since the start of the Bulldogs' win over Tennessee on Oct. 5 -- means Richt isn't in the mood to complain.
"The only guy who looks like he won't play will be Jay," Richt said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Everybody else has got a chance."
The timing couldn't be much better, as Georgia realistically must beat Auburn (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) to remain in the hunt for an SEC East title. A Bulldog loss coupled with a South Carolina home win over Florida -- a game in which the Gamecocks are currently favored by 13.5 points -- would eliminate Georgia from the divisional race. (To go to Atlanta, the Bulldogs must win out and have Missouri lose to both Ole Miss and Texas A&M.)
Winning at Jordan-Hare Stadium won't be easy, with the Tigers as hot as any team in the SEC outside of Tuscaloosa and needing the victory every bit as badly. (A Tiger win would set up a blockbuster winner-take-all battle with Alabama for the SEC West.) But having Conley and Lynch on the field would mean the Bulldogs will at least be able to give it as good a shot as their banged-up roster will allow.
UPDATE, Nov. 12, 6:28 p.m.: Though Conley has been able to go through some "light running" at practice Monday and Tuesday, per Dawgs247, Richt called him "questionable" Tuesday. Mike Bobo told reporters after Tuesday's practice that Conley would be a "game-time decision." (Lynch was able to practice full-speed.)
The guess here is that given the stakes of the game, Conley will play. But it sounds less certain than when Richt commented Monday.