ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia receiver Malcolm Mitchell will miss the remainder of the season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in Saturday’s loss at Clemson.
Coach Mark Richt said Sunday that Mitchell will have season-ending surgery “in the near future.”
Mitchell, the leading returning receiver for the No. 5 Bulldogs, hurt his knee when celebrating with a teammate following Todd Gurley’s 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. No. 8 Clemson beat Georgia 38-35.
“He actually hurt it in the exuberance of the first touchdown of the game for us,” Richt said on a conference call.
“He went to congratulate his teammate and I think they jumped up and chest-bumped or whatever and it ended up that he landed in a bad way. So he knew something happened. ”
Richt said concerns Mitchell suffered a serious injury were confirmed by an MRI on Sunday.
Georgia opens its Southeastern Conference schedule against No. 6 South Carolina on Saturday.
Mitchell, a junior, was Georgia’s leading returning receiver. He had a combined 85 catches for 1,237 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011 and 2012.
He played primarily at cornerback in the first four games last season before returning to offense.
Richt said he expects Mitchell will receive a medical redshirt and have two years of eligibility remaining, beginning with the 2014 season.
Mitchell left the game before having a reception. The injury leaves Georgia without its best deep threat at receiver.
“We’ve got other guys who have gone deep and can make plays for us, but Malcolm was certainly one guy who can do that,” Richt said. “He had great, great speed, great quickness and he would snatch the ball in traffic. He was a great competitor.”
Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray did not have a touchdown pass in the loss.
Michael Bennett led Georgia with five catches for 60 yards. Bennett played most of the game at Mitchell’s split end position.
Justin Scott-Wesley had four catches for 55 yards and Chris Conley had a team-leading 67 yards receiving on three catches.
Richt said he and his staff must devise a new plan for the receivers.
“Bennett did play the majority of the game at the position and we’ve just got to see if that’s the best situation for Michael or Georgia,” Richt said. “We’ll be trying to figure out what’s the best way to line everybody up.”