ATHENS, Ga. -- All-SEC tailback Todd Gurley warmed up before Georgia's practice Wednesday in an effort to practice for the first time this week, but his sprained left ankle had not healed to the point that he was able to participate.
"It's still just day to day," Bulldogs coach Mark Richt said afterward. "He tried a little bit today in the [indoor practice room] and he couldn't go today."
Richt said there was no deadline for Gurley to return to practice in order for him to play in Saturday's game at Tennessee. Having started 16 times over the past season-plus, the sophomore back has a strong enough grasp of the Bulldogs' offensive scheme to step in on short notice if his ankle improves to the point that he can play Saturday.
"There's no drop-dead," Richt said. "There used to be, I think, but a lot of times, it just depends on a guy and what type of veteran he is. If you think he has to practice Wednesday and Thursday in order to be mentally prepared to play, you might say, 'Hey, he's got to practice.' But if a guy knows what to do and he feels great on Saturday even though he didn't feel good on Wednesday, I think I'd still play him anyway."
Gurley suffered the injury early in the second quarter of the Bulldogs' 44-41 win against LSU this past Saturday. LSU safety Craig Loston was in the process of dragging Gurley to the ground at the end of a 23-yard run when Gurley rolled his left ankle awkwardly. He did not return to the game.
Richt said it was too early to predict his starting tailback for Saturday but said "it would make sense" to start sophomore Keith Marshall if Gurley is unable to go. Marshall carried the ball a career-high 20 times for 96 yards against LSU.
Gurley was not the only starter who missed Wednesday's practice. Freshman safety Tray Matthews "tweaked his hamstring" in Tuesday's practice, Richt said, adding that "it was bad enough that he couldn't go today."
Richt wasn't ready to rule out Matthews for the Tennessee game, either, but said, "I'm not exactly sure how we'll [settle on a replacement if Matthews can't play]. We've got to make some decisions if in fact he can't go."
Matthews is fourth on the team with 20 tackles and has the Bulldogs' only interception of the season.