The Georgia Bulldogs will face off with the Florida Gators on Saturday in an annual SEC rivalry game. However, the defense will enter the matchup missing a key member of the secondary. Richard LeCounte will be inactive after a dirt bike accident on Saturday night.
The safety had a traffic accident after the team returned to Athens, Georgia, following a trip to Lexington, Kentucky. He was riding his dirt bike when it struck a vehicle attempting to make a left turn into a gas station. The collision forced LeCounte into the oncoming lane where it struck another vehicle. He suffered multiple injuries and was transported to a local hospital following the accident.
Ron Courson, the school's director of sports medicine, told ESPN that LeCounte was still being treated on Sunday. "His injuries are not life-threatening and a full recovery is expected,'' Courson said in a statement. LeCounte's mother, Erika Blocker-LeCounte, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is "lucky to be alive" and that wearing a helmet "saved his life."
Sources also told the outlet that LeCounte will miss at least a few weeks due to the crash. He suffered a concussion, shoulder injury, as well as several cuts and bruises. According to ESPN, the injuries will not require surgery. While LeCounte is inactive, junior Christopher Smith will step into the starting rotation.
"Obviously thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family," Georgia coach Kirby Smart said on Monday. "He was moved from an ICU to a regular room. He's got wonderful parents and we've been in constant communication with them. We're all hopeful and expecting a full recovery."
Smart said that the members of the team have sent video messages to LeCounte wishing him well. The coach did not provide a timeline for the safety's return. He just said that the safety is out for the "foreseeable future" as it pertains to football activities.
LeCounte, a team captain and preseason All-America selection, played a major role during Saturday's 14-3 victory over Kentucky. He registered 13 tackles, a fumble recovery and three pass breakups. LeCounte also leads the team with three interceptions this season.
In addition to LeCounte, the Bulldogs could also miss three other contributors for the game against the Gators. Fellow safety Lewis Cine suffered an ankle injury against the Wildcats, putting him in doubt for the upcoming game. Defensive linemen Jordan Davis and Julian Rochester also suffered injuries during the trip to Lexington.