Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray, held out Tuesday because of a bruised sternum and bruised knee, could return to the practice field on Monday, coach Mark Richt said.
"I’m very hopeful that by Monday he’ll be able to do something and hopefully everything by then," Richt said Wednesday. "It’s one thing to be able to drop back and throw the ball and another thing to be able to play a real live football game. We’ve tried all year long not to get him hit in practice, so that will be the goal next week, too."
Georgia practices again this afternoon before players get the weekend off. Georgia plays next against Georgia Tech on Nov. 27.
Murray sustained his injuries in the Bulldogs’ 49-31 loss Saturday at Auburn when the redshirt freshman took several hard hits from defensive tackle Nick Fairley.
Murray injured his left knee when Fairley hit it with his helmet after being partially blocked.
"It truly is day-to-day," Richt said of Murray’s status.
Richt said practicing will be one thing, but playing in the game will be another.
"There’s a difference between being able to practice the way we practice without the quarterback getting hit and him actually being in the game, so that’s going to be the determining factor," Richt said. "My guess is he’ll be able to do some things practice-wise, but in the end will he be able to play?"
Richt said earlier this week that there was no guarantee that Murray would play but said "we’re thinking that there’s a good chance that he will."
Green on NFL decision
Junior receiver A.J. Green helped his already soaring NFL stock with a big game against No. 2 Auburn.
If he decides to return to the Bulldogs for his senior season, it will be considered the biggest gain of Mark Richt’s 2011 recruiting class.
Green, ranked No. 2 among NFL draft prospect by ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr., said Wednesday that his mind still isn’t made up.
"Whenever the season’s over, then I’ll make that decision," said Green, who tied his career high with nine catches for 164 yards and two touchdowns against the Tigers.
The season could be over as early as a week from Saturday if Georgia loses to Georgia Tech and misses out on a bowl.
Green said he doesn’t know exactly how a possible NFL lockout would impact him.
"I’m pretty sure that’s going to play a big factor in my decision if I decide to leave," Green said. "If I decide to leave, I’ll look into the details of that a little more."
Green said "he would love to come back" for his senior season.
"I’m going to sit down with my family and make the best decision to me," he said.
Add ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit to those who think Fairley’s hit against Murray crossed the line when he put his helmet into the back of Murray after a pass. Fairley was flagged for roughing the passer on the play.
"Not only did he hit Aaron Murray late, but he lowered his head and put the crown of his helmet right into his spine after he threw the football," Herbstreit said on air. "Without question, if there’s ever a play where a player should be looked at and potentially be suspended or some kind of action should be brought down on a player, it’s for that hit that Nick Fairley put on Aaron Murray. No excuse for that."
The Southeastern Conference said it won’t suspend Fairley.
Auburn coach Gene Chizik was asked what he thought of people that refer to Fairley as a "dirty player."
"I don’t know how people refer to him," Chizik said. "I’m not really sure exactly what you’re talking about, but certainly no one teaches that. He’s a very try-hard guy. He plays with great effort, great passion for the game."
Georgia outside linebacker Justin Houston is one of five finalists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy for the nation’s top defensive player.
Houston leads the SEC with 10 sacks and is second in the league with 171/2 tackles for loss. He is tied for third on the team with 50 tackles.
"He’s been a force, no doubt," Richt said.
The other finalists are Fairley, Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers, LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson and Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly.
The award will be presented Dec. 6 in Charlotte.
This and that
Cornerback Sanders Commings (ankle) practiced some Tuesday and will be fine to play against Georgia Tech, according to defensive coordinator Todd Grantham. … Linebacker Jarvis Jones, the Southern California transfer who was limited this fall due to a neck injury, is about "full tilt" now in practice, Grantham said.