Ten@10: Bulldogs winning despite injury issues

Juwan Parker tried to play against Florida but managed to go just six minutes and scored one point. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

Juwan Parker tried to play against Florida but managed to go just six minutes and scored one point. (UGA photo by John Kelley)

THE TEN AT 10:

1. Georgia is definitely going to be without Juwan Parker for Tuesday night’s game against Ole Miss. But there are indications he could be out even longer.

Coach Mark Fox said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound guard has only gotten worse rather than better in regard to the Achilles tendon injury that has dogged Parker for weeks now.

“Not good. Not good,” Fox said when asked about Parker’s status on Monday. “The poor guy has been nursing this injury all year. In the middle of the LSU game it went from bad to worse. He didn’t play against Vandy. We sat him for five straight days just so we could get five minutes out of him against Florida.

“He will not play tomorrow barring a miracle. And it’s going to be a long road.”

It could be a blow for the Bulldogs if Parker is out for a significant period. The sophomore from Tulsa had emerged as a key piece for Georgia this season, starting all 14 games he’d played in before the Florida contest. He is averaging 5.9 points and 4.2 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per game.

After sitting out against Vanderbilt, he tried to play against the Gators this past Saturday but then managed only six minutes. He was very ineffective.

“Obviously we wouldn’t put him at risk ever,” Fox said. “We’ve talked to Juwan about it. This is about managing the situation. It won’t get better until after the season. It’s just unfortunate.”

2. Compounding the issue is the Bulldogs were already playing without another player at Parker’s 3 position in the lineup. Sophomore Kenny Paul Geno fractured his wrist on Jan. 6 against Arkansas and hasn’t played since.

“Our hope is that we can get Kenny Paul Geno into a soft cast in the next week and get him back to at least practicing to some degree,” Fox said.  “That’s certainly an issue for our squad right now.”

Geno, a true wing player at 6-6, hadn’t played a lot but was effective when he did. He was averaging 1.9 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.5 minutes per game.

Charles Mann has moved to the 3-spot to help the Bulldogs overcome two injuries there. (UGA photo)

Charles Mann has moved to the 3-spot to help the Bulldogs overcome two injuries there. (UGA photo)

3. The key problem is depth being two men down. Otherwise, Georgia actually has adjusted well on the court.

The solution has been to move 6-5 guard Charles Mann out to Parker’s wing position and insert J.J. Frazier into the starting lineup at point guard.

Frazier has set career highs in scoring, rebounding, steals and minutes in the past seven games while Mann seems to have stabilized after enduring a brief spate of turnover and foul-line issues.

That’s the lineup Georgia will have on the floor tonight when the Bulldogs (11-5, 2-2 SEC) take on Ole Miss (11-6, 2-2) at Stegeman Coliseum (7 p.m. SEC Network).

“Charles has had to move to a new position with all the injuries,” Fox said. “To his credit, he’s done so very unselfishly.”

4. The move also appears to have been beneficial for Mann. While it has not been a bad season by any stretch for the junior from Alpharetta, it hasn’t been productive as Mann envisioned.

He’s still making plays for the Bulldogs, but not finishing drives as well as he’d like and not making as many free throws. After making 70 percent of his free throws in an SEC-high 277 trips to the foul line last season, Mann has made just 63 percent of his free shots so far this season. He’s the team’s third-leading scorer at 11.7 points per game and has improved his assists to turnover ratio at 59-57. But he still has more than twice the turnovers of anybody else on the team.

“I’ve been struggling offensively starting in conference play,” Mann said. “I haven’t been able to score and get to the line as much as I did previously. So I’m just trying to keep my head up and take what they give me. And lately they’ve been giving me the chance to pass the ball and find the open guy. So I’m just going to continue to take what teams give me and try to be more aggressive each game.”

Said Fox: “Charles is aggressive. A lot of his turnovers are not passive turnovers. It’s an area we continually try to address. But there’s a fine line between being aggressive and getting to the foul like and avoiding charge fouls.”

Todd Gurley filed his paperwork for early-entry in the NFL draft this past Friday. (AJC photo)

Todd Gurley filed his paperwork for early-entry in the NFL draft this past Friday. (AJC photo)

5. The deadline for underclassmen or special exceptions to enter the NFL draft came and went late last week without any surprises. Tailback Todd Gurley was Georgia’s only underclassman to file the official paperwork with the league office in New York.

Linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins and offensive tackle John Theus asked for evaluations from the NFL but opted to stay with the Bulldogs another season.

Gurley was one of 74 players granted “special eligibility” this year. According to the NFL, that’s a 24.5 percent decrease from 2014. Gurley, who rushed for 911 yards and 9 TDs in six games, projects as a late first-round or early second-round selection.

In all, there were 18 SEC players entering the draft as underclassmen. Florida led the way with four, followed by Alabama and LSU with three each.

6. Speaking of Georgia football, the reorganization of coach Mark Richt’s football staff continues. The latest move, it appears at least, is to split into two positions the job that Dave Van Halanger previously had as Georgia’s director of player welfare.

UGA now lists two open athletic association positions on its jobs site: A “player relations coordinator” for offense and a “player relations coordinator” for defense.

The job description is as follows:

“The Player Relations Coordinator is responsible for off-the-field activities of student athletes, including but not limited to providing advice and counsel related to life skills, academic success, personal development, and community involvement; assist with the Character Education Program and Leadership Council; serve as liaison to high school coaches and GHSA; provide leadership and support for the Mentor Program, PO Network, Letterman Relations, and other programs related to student-athlete wellness. Adhere to all NCAA, SEC, UGA, and UGAAA rules and regulations.”

Better hurry and apply if you’re interested. The application deadline is end of business on Friday.

This is one of the engagement photos Kelly Hall posted on her Facebook page of her and fiance Matthew Stafford.

This is one of the engagement photos Kelly Hall posted on her Facebook page of her and fiance Matthew Stafford.

7. Former Georgia quarterback Matthew Stafford has been selected to replace Peyton Manning in the NFL Pro Bowl. That will make him the first Lions quarterback since Greg Landry in 1972 to play in that game.

But in Bulldogs country, that’s not what all the buzz is about. It’s about Stafford’s engagement photos with fiance’ Kelly Hall. He and the former UGA cheerleader had them done at Sanford Stadium last year. They’re now available for all to see on the Vue Photography website.

8. Anybody who has kept up with Georgia baseball the last year will find it no surprise that Bulldogs pitcher Robert Tyler was listed among the nation’s top-rated professional prospects, according to Perfect Game USA.

Tyler is ranked No. 1 among the Top 100 College Sophomores list. The rankings are based on a player’s professional potential relative to the Major League Baseball draft.

Tyler earned freshman All-America honors in 2014 after leading Georgia in wins, earned run average and strikeouts. The 6-foot-4, 217-pound native of Cordele, Tyler’s 2.68 ERA was the lowest by a Bulldog starter in 10 seasons.

Also, centerfielder Stephen Wrenn checked in at No. 33 on the list of sophomores while pitcher Jared Cheek was No. 50 among the Top 100 seniors.

Additionally, a pair of first-year Bulldogs made the Top 100 Freshmen rankings. Pitcher Ryan Avidano of Peachtree City and product of Starr’s Mill High School was No. 65 on the list while outfielder Keegan McGovern of Willacoochee and graduate of Coffee High School was No. 81.

A lot of things are popping for the Diamond Dogs right about now. Coach Scott Stricklin’s second UGA team will begin preseason practice on Jan. 23. Georgia’s annual 1st Pitch Banquet  — this year featuring Hall of Fame Atlanta Braves pitcher John Smoltz — will be Jan. 30 at the Classic Center. And construction is nearly complete on the multi-million dollar expansion and renovation of Foley Field. The season opens Feb. 3.

9. Once again, beam reached up and yanked down Georgia in a gymnastics meet.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs led No. 15 Denver after each of the first three rotations in their dual meet Monday in Colorado.  The Gymdogs (1-2) led by .925 heading to beam, had to count two falls and, after Denver posted a 48.875 on floor, came up on the short end of a 194.850-194.300 loss.

“We are obviously not happy with the way we finished, and we have to be better than that,”Georgia coach Danna Durante said. “We have work to do. That’s about all I can say.”

Georgia resumes SEC competition against Kentucky on Saturday in Athens. It’s the Gymdogs’ annual “Pink Meet” recognizing breast cancer awareness.

10. This & that: PGA Tour star and former UGA golfer Bubba Watson recently became part owner of the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. The are the Cincinnati Reds’ AA affiliate. … Georgia’s No. 5-ranked women’s tennis team was tripped up in its first match of the 2015 season. The Lady Bulldogs fell to No. 15 Baylor 4-3 in a hard-fought match Sunday in Waco, which will be the site of the NCAA championships.


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