Georgia DT Owens to undergo season-ending surgery for torn ACL

Top-ranked Georgia has suffered another blow up front.

Coach Mark Richt confirmed Sunday that defensive tackle Jeff Owens would undergo season-ending surgery on Sept. 9 after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during the Bulldogs' season-opening 45-21 win over Georgia Southern.

During the preseason, left offensive tackle Trinton Sturdivant tore his ACL and was lost for the season. Owens and Sturdivant were two of the top three linemen on Georgia's team along with defensive tackle Geno Atkins.

Owens started 26 games in his Bulldog career and his streak of 15 straight will end this Saturday.

Senior Corvey Irvin will step in for Owens at defensive tackle alongside Atkins on Saturday against Central Michigan. Junior Kade Weston would have also been a possibility, but he will miss at least another week with a knee sprain.

"At this rate, we won't last very long," Richt said during his teleconference on Sunday. "We can't afford much more. We've got pretty good depth at both spots [offensive and defensive tackle] as far as finishing out the season, but I don't think we can take much more."

On the bright side, Richt said he has no doubt Owens, who already had been projected as a possible high pick in the 2009 NFL draft, will return to Athens next season.

"Oh yeah, I don't think there would be any question about that," Richt said. "He knows it could be a blessing in the long run if he rehabs well and gets maybe even in better condition than he was this year. So he's looking at the bright side right now."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.