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Richt unsure Todd Gurley will return

ATHENS, Ga. -- While Todd Gurley returned to practice Monday, Georgia coach Mark Richt isn't sure whether the junior running back will play in another game for the No. 10 Bulldogs this season.

Gurley, an early Heisman Trophy front-runner, has been indefinitely suspended pending an investigation into an alleged violation of NCAA rules, but Richt offered no update on the running back's playing status Tuesday.

"I just don't have any answer for that," Richt said. "I don't know. If there's something worthy of reporting, we'll report it. Other than that, we're focusing on things that we can control."

When asked directly whether he thought Gurley would play again this season, Richt again said that he didn't know.

"I can't answer that," he said.

Sources have told ESPN that the NCAA investigation deals with whether Gurley was given money for autographs, memorabilia or the use of his likeness.

Per NCAA rules, Gurley would face a potential one-game suspension (10 percent of the team's competition) if he accepted improper benefits ranging from $100 to $400. The penalty would increase to two games (20 percent) for amounts from $400 to $700, and to four games (30 percent) for amounts greater than $700.

Gurley leads the SEC in rushing yards (773), yards per carry (8.2) and rushing touchdowns (eight).

Tight end Jay Rome said Gurley appeared to be in good spirits during Monday's practice and added that Gurley is "not going to miss a step" if he does return.

True freshman running back Nick Chubb rushed for a game-high 143 yards and a touchdown in Georgia's 34-0 win against Missouri on Saturday. Chubb's 38 carries were more than Gurley has had in a game at any point during his Georgia career.

"I knew going into the game that we could still win with Chubb there," quarterback Hutson Mason said. "He's a tough cat. A lot of times I forget and really don't appreciate what a guy this young is doing in the SEC. ... He's kind of carrying the team on his back for such a young guy."

Georgia (5-1, 3-1 SEC) visits Arkansas (3-3, 0-3) on Saturday in Little Rock.

Richt wasn't optimistic that junior running back Keith Marshall (sprained ankle/knee) would be ready to play against the Razorbacks. There's hope, however, that freshman Sony Michel, who has rushed for 223 yards and three TDs this season, can return from his shoulder injury in time for the Nov. 1 game against Florida.

Even with Gurley sidelined, Richt said he doesn't anticipate the need to make many changes to the offense to make up for the loss of Gurley.

"Our game plan won't change," Richt said. "... Philosophically or systematically, we're not going to say, 'Oh, we gotta make a bunch of wholesale changes.' We don't need to. We don't plan to."

Players insisted Tuesday that the team is doing fine despite Gurley's uncertainty, and Rome said there's even motivation to overcome it.

"We're not a one-man team, so we had a chip on our shoulder," Rome said. "We're going to that for the rest of the year or until we get Todd back. We're going to play for Georgia and we're going to play for Todd."