Conley eager for green light after injuries

RUTLEDGE, Ga. -- Georgia receiver Chris Conley hopes he will be cleared to fully participate when preseason practice begins, but he remains unsure whether his wrist and ankle injuries will have healed enough to be ready by the first of August.

Conley had surgery on an injured wrist Jan. 5, which was thought to be the reason Georgia’s coaches held him out of contact during spring practice. But the sophomore receiver revealed Wednesday that he was still recovering at the time from a broken foot suffered in the Bulldogs’ loss to Michigan State in the Outback Bowl.

Nonetheless, he has been participating in the Bulldogs’ summer passing sessions and hopes that he will not be wearing a green no-contact jersey when preseason practice begins Aug. 2.

“It really comes down to what Ron wants to do, but I’m hoping that I won’t be,” Conley said, referring to Georgia’s director of sports medicine, Ron Courson. “Right now I’m running drills and running 7-on-7s and everything is full go. So now it’s just to the point of getting my foot and my wrist to where they don’t hurt anymore.”

Although it initially appeared he would redshirt last season, injuries within Georgia’s receiving corps forced the coaching staff to burn Conley’s redshirt in Week 4 against Ole Miss. He made his first reception the following week against Mississippi State and emerged as a valuable receiving threat as the Bulldogs pushed toward the SEC East title.

Conley’s best game was a five-catch, 126-yard homecoming outing against New Mexico State, including a 47-yard touchdown catch. But he also made a clutch catch for a first down that helped Georgia run out the clock on its final drive in a win against Florida and hauled in a key touchdown in a win against Georgia Tech.

As a sophomore, Conley is poised to improve on his 288 receiving yards from 2011, which made him the Bulldogs’ fourth-leading returning receiver. Now he simply needs to be cleared to participate -- and he has no reason to believe he won’t be ready by the time the season begins.

“It’s getting there,” said Conley, who had the cast on his wrist removed about eight weeks ago. “The wrist has been cleared. Surgery went well. Now it’s just a matter of strengthening and getting the bone to the point where it can support itself without need for a brace or tape.”