Georgia saw a dynamic playmaker suffer a serious injury earlier this week when star WR George Pickens suffered an ACL injury that will require surgery.

But on Thursday, coach Kirby Smart said that Divaad Wilson also tore his ACL during spring 2018 and was cleared to play late in the season. Smart also cited games Georgia played last season without Pickens, including Florida.

“George will be dearly missed because he’s talented, he works really hard, he makes our whole team better,” Smart said. “I know that’s obvious in terms of what he does offensively, but he makes all the defensive backs better. So when you talk about challenging guys, there’s no greater matchup for a young DB to go against, than to go against George. That part we don’t control, but what we do control is how we respond to it, and George knows injuries are part of the game, and we’ll have other guys step up, and I’m very hopeful that George gets well and is able to come back.”

Pickens finished last season with 36 catches, which tied for the team lead, and had 513 yards (second on the team) and a team-high 6 touchdown receptions. He started all 10 games for the Bulldogs last season and was expected to be one of the best receivers in the country this season.

Smart said that Pickens loves football, and will continue to stay around the team as he recovers from the surgery and rehabs his knee.

“Obviously we think there’s a chance he’s back in ’21,” Smart said. “… He’s got a long career ahead of him.”

Smart was asked about a host of players and said, “I think we’ve got plenty of good players. Tight end, running back, receiver, yeah it hurts, it definitely hurts, but the positive in this is would you rather they found that out now, or would you rather them find that out the week before the Clemson game.”