By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn's Gus Malzahn is hoping a game against Georgia is just what the doctor ordered to get his injured Tigers back on the road to recovery.
Auburn played shorthanded against Vanderbilt last Saturday, not playing injured quarterback Sean White for a half, not playing a starting linebacker and starting receiver at all, and then losing SEC leading rusher Kamyrn Pettway to a leg injury late in the game.
"We've got to get guys healed up," Malzahn said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference. "But the good thing is this is a rivalry game, it's an important game. A lot of times when you have those factors, you heal up quicker."
White practiced Tuesday. Pettway did not. His status for Saturday? "He's healing, so we'll see," Malzahn said, adding that Pettway could play without much practice time.
"It's not that hard this time of year when you have as many reps in practice and game reps," Malzahn said. "That's not a problem."
Pettway has rushed for 1,106 yards, though he has carried the ball in only seven of Auburn's nine games. Don't forget, the Tigers started the season with Kerryon Johnson as the primary running back. An ankle injury slowed him in Week 6. Since the injury, Pettway has 121 carries and Johnson has 20. Still, Johnson has rushed for 616 yards and has 926 all-purpose yards.
"He battled an injury midseason and he's working his way back to 100 percent," Malzahn said.
And there's Stanton Truitt, the receiver-turned-running back who 182 yards on 29 carries. Malzahn said Truitt has "run extremely well since we moved him to tailback. We're a run-play action team, so no matter who our running back is, we need to be successful" running, Malzahn said.
The injury report doesn't stop there. Malzahn said Tuesday he expected linebacker Tre' Williams and receiver Tony Stevens to return for Saturday's 2:30 p.m. game in Athens. They both missed last week's 23-16 win over Vanderbilt with injuries.
"After last week's game, we were obviously beat up. This time of year, that's part of it. You've got find the way with that next-man-up mentality," Malzahn said.
Charles Goldberg is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @AUGoldMine