The Georgia Bulldogs are dealing with more than just game preparation ahead of Saturday's home opener against UAB.
Head coach Kirby Smart told reporters that three or four of the team's players tested positive for COVID-19 and may not be able to play in Georgia's second game of the 2021 season:
"I'll be honest with you, I'm as concerned as I've ever been, because we have three or four guys out with COVID and we have a couple staff members that have been out with COVID here recently. For us, we're at our highest spike. And people are talking about vaccinations, well these are people that are vaccinated. We're talking about breakthroughs, and so that concerns you not only for the players on your team that are unvaccinated, that are playing and not playing, because we want everybody to be safe. But it concerns me for the players that are vaccinated that we could lose them."
Smart also said Ron Courson, who is Georgia's sports medicine director, is "doing good" after he was diagnosed with COVID-19 and did not travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, for last Saturday's 10-3 win over Clemson at Bank of America Stadium.
Mark Schlabach of ESPN noted the head coach also previously said more than 90 percent of the SEC program's players, coaches and staff members are vaccinated.
While Smart explained the players experienced breakthrough cases, they are statistically safer because they were vaccinated. A recent study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that those who are vaccinated are 29 times less likely to be hospitalized or killed as a result of the virus (h/t Katia Hetter of CNN).
On the field, the Bulldogs started their season off with a high-profile win over Clemson in a marquee nonconference clash that could have implications on the College Football Playoff down the line.
They start SEC play with a home game against South Carolina on Sept. 18 after the contest against UAB.