Kendall Milton injury is not serious, but still presents problems for Georgia’s run game

Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2)News Joshua L Jones
Georgia running back Kendall Milton (2)News Joshua L Jones /

Coaches and fans alike wanted to see Kendall Milton taking some snaps in the Mike Bobo offense in the 2023 G-Day game, but his debut running Bobo’s playbook will have to wait until the fall. 

Georgia senior running back Kendall Milton suffered a hamstring injury during spring practices and is being shut down for the rest of the spring. While he’ll be back for fall camp, it does raise a concern beyond his place on the depth chart.

When Kendall Milton has been healthy, he’s been as good of a running back as you’ll ever see wearing a Georgia football uniform. He’s strong, he’s fast, he’s selfless, and he’s the kind of team-first player who Kirby Smart wants to depend on.

The problem has been keeping him healthy. Throughout his career at Georgia, Milton has dealt with knee and groin injuries that limited the number of snaps he’s been available. The hope was that 2023 would be a year for him to start the season injury-free to become the big playmaker option in the Georgia backfield.

That all came crashing down as Milton suffered a hamstring injury that will cause him to miss the rest of spring practice and the annual G-Day game.

How serious is Kendall Milton’s hamstring injury?

The word from the Georgia coaching staff is that Milton will be able to return for fall camp. That’s a positive sign. However, that doesn’t mean the news is all good.

Hamstring injuries can be tricky and can take longer to heal than expected at times. You’d probably think that with over four months to go until fall camp that Milton would have plenty of time to be 100 percent.

While that may be, the question has to be in the heads of Kirby Smart and Mike Bobo as to whether or not they’ll be able to depend on Milton to be the finisher and leader in a running back room that — while loaded with talent — is basically unproven.

Georgia is dealing with a number of injuries to the running backs beyond Milton, including Daijun Edwards who has been dealing with an undisclosed injury, and redshirt freshman Andrew Paul who is recovering from an ACL injury suffered last August.

The other two healthy scholarship running backs on the roster —  Branson Robinson and Roderick Robinson — are not quite ready for prime time and would be looked at as longshots to secure starting roles unless injuries forced the issue.

That’s why having a healthy Kendall Milton was, and still is, a key for the running game in 2023. With more experience, and more ability than any tailback on the squad, Milton is needed not only to gain yards and touchdowns but to be a leader for the entire group of backs.

Some players are just prone to injury, and it can’t be avoided. If Kendall Milton is one of those guys, which seems to be the case, Smart and Bobo will need to alter their plan for the running game and have less dependency on the well-traveled senior.

That would be a shame, both for Milton and the team. While he can still be a leader whether he’s on the sideline or behind the quarterback, having opponents know and fear that Milton can come in and wreck their day at any point is an advantage.

Hopefully, the Dawgs will still have that advantage when the 2023 season starts.

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