Georgia’s Murray facing season-ending knee surgery

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ATHENS, GA. (AP) - Coach Mark Richt says the play that ended quarterback Aaron Murray’s season wasn’t the senior’s final snap when he was flung to the ground by Kentucky defensive end Za’Darius Smith.

Richt said Sunday Murray heard a pop in his left knee when he made a cut on his 28-yard run on Georgia’s earlier possession in the second quarter on Saturday night. Murray was limping at the end of that series, which ended with his touchdown pass to tight end Arthur Lynch. But he remained in the game for one more possession.

Georgia said that tests Saturday night and another exam Sunday confirmed Murray tore the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee and will have season-ending surgery this week. Hutson Mason will make his first career start when Georgia plays at Georgia Tech on Saturday.

“He felt something pop whenever it happened on the run,” Richt said. “He didn’t know for sure what it was. We’ve had other guys feel or hear something pop and then they’re fine. He was feeling good enough to put him back in there.”

Richt said it was a non-contact injury.

“He cut back across the grain,” Richt said. “He could have just run straight out of bounds. He decided to make a right-hand turn. When he was changing direction, that’s when it happened.”

Murray remained on the field to complete the touchdown drive, but appeared upset as he walked to the sideline.

Murray had to convince Richt and offensive coordinator Mike Bobo he could remain in the game following the touchdown pass to Lynch, Murray’s fourth TD pass of the 59-17 win over Kentucky.

“We were going to get him out,” Richt said. “You could tell something was going on. He just refused. I think he kind of knew. He knew something happened but didn’t know what.”

Richt said he approached Murray on the sideline to tell him he was being pulled from the game. “I said `You’re out, dude,’” Richt said. “He said `No, no way.’ I said `You better talk to (Bobo) and convince him you’re all right.’”

Murray pedaled on an exercise bike behind the bench and then ran on the sideline to convince Bobo he could stay in the game.

Murray played only one more series. He left the game after he was hit by Smith on his only interception with 2:17 remaining in the half.

Richt said there was no further damage to Murray’s knee by playing the additional series.

Murray couldn’t put weight on his left leg and was supported by trainers as he was taken to the locker room. It proved to be the end of his college career on the night seniors were honored during Georgia’s final home game of the season.

“There was something wrong and he knew it and couldn’t hide it anymore,” Richt said. “He was trying to hide it, I think. But he knew it happened earlier on.”

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