Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams leaves in first half of CFP loss after injuring knee

Jameson Williams shaken up after big catch (0:35)

Bryce Young lofts the ball downfield to Jameson Williams, who makes a great catch but is shaken up and helped off the field. (0:35)

INDIANAPOLIS -- Alabama star receiver Jameson Williams injured his left knee early in the second quarter of Monday night's 33-18 loss to Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship Presented by AT&T.

Williams, a junior from St. Louis, was hurt on a 40-yard catch on a pass from Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young. Williams was wide open on the play, and he clutched his left leg before he was hit by cornerback Derion Kendrick.

Williams, while watching his team's offensive drive, walked to the locker room with Alabama's athletic trainers shortly after being hurt. The series ended with an Alabama field goal.

Alabama ruled Williams out for the second half during the third quarter. With 8 minutes, 11 seconds left in the third, Williams returned to the sideline with a team official. He was dressed in his game jersey and sweatpants.

Alabama coach Nick Saban said after the game that the extent of Williams' injury won't be known until he undergoes an MRI.

Saban said Williams wanted to return to the game in the second half, but that Alabama's medical staff would not allow him to, "which I think is smart because he has a future as a football player."

Williams came into the game with 75 catches for 1,507 yards and 15 touchdowns and averaged 20.1 yards per reception. He is rated the No. 1 wide receiver and No. 6 prospect available overall for the 2022 NFL draft by both ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.

The No. 1 Crimson Tide were already playing without receiver John Metchie III, who suffered a torn ACL in his left knee on a noncontact play in a 41-24 victory against the Bulldogs in the SEC championship game on Dec. 4.

Not long after Williams left, ESPN's Molly McGrath reported from the Georgia sideline in the second quarter that Bulldogs defensive coordinator Dan Lanning huddled his first team and told them, "This changes things."

In his halftime interview on the field, Saban told ESPN's Holly Rowe that "we've got other players that have an opportunity there. There are a lot of young guys out there. They've got talent, so they've got to play with competitive character. They don't have experience, but they're going to get it tonight."

Williams had four catches for 65 yards before leaving. Slade Bolden led the Tide with six receptions for 37 yards in the first half, and freshmen Ja'Corey Brooks and Agiye Hall combined for three more. Tight end Cameron Latu gained 70 yards on two catches, including a 61-yarder before the break.

But Young, in the second half, struggled to escape the Bulldogs' defense, and his inexperienced targets remained largely bottled up.