ORLANDO, Fla. — Abry Jones has played a lot of football for Georgia — 46 games, to be exact.
The senior defensive end wanted one more chance to suit up for the Bulldogs. That should come in Tuesday’s Capital One Bowl against Nebraska more than 10 weeks after tearing tendons in his left ankle.
“I felt like it’s my senior year and I missed so much, I always want to play one more game with the fellas,” Jones said Friday before Georgia held its third bowl practice at Celebration High School.
Jones, already cleared to play in the game, said he’s feeling about 75 to 85 percent healthy in practice as he returns from surgery similar to what tailback Richard Samuel had last season when he missed five games.
Jones is running and can cut “a little bit.”
“It’s just trying to build up my confidence,” Jones said. “I get a little winded, but it’s nothing. It will pretty much snap back when it’s time to play.”
Jones could have taken it slower and skipped the bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.
“Ever since he got hurt, his attitude was, ‘I want to get back and I want to play,’” Georgia coach Mark Richt said. “He’s been working towards that the entire time. I really don’t know how much he’ll be able to play, what type of stamina he’ll have to be able to play. He wants to play. The plan is to play him, but as practices go on, we’ll have a little better gauge what that might look like. Right now just the thought of him fighting like mad to get back on the field is a sign of his integrity and a sign of his love of the game and love of Georgia.”
Defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said Jones “can really give us some depth and spot play and do some things like that if he continues to function at a rate that can help us.”