Georgia wide receiver Kearis jackson (10) makes a catch during the second half of the University of Georgia vs. Vanderbilt University on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019, in Nashville Tennessee. The Bulldogs defeated the Commodores 30-6. (Photo/Ryan Cameron rcameron@randb.com)

Kearis Jackson puts his left hand into a bucket of rice every night before he goes to bed — something he’ll be doing for the rest of the season.

After redshirting his freshman year, Jackson was named a starter for Georgia’s opening game against Vanderbilt. The outcome of that was not what Jackson expected. After a catch-and-run for 31 yards in the fourth quarter, Jackson fumbled the ball and injured his hand as he was going to the ground.

The injury resulted in three broken parts, which required surgery and there are visible scars running down Jackson’s left hand.

“That was when I got closer to God, [I] just started praying more and that’s when blessings started coming my way,” Jackson said. “Then, I was being a bigger blessing for my teammates as well just being an encourager.”

Jackson’s journey through rehab and back to the field didn’t stop with the bucket of rice. Every night after practice, five times a week, he would take a friend to the practice facilities and catches balls from the Jugs machine.

“I try to catch at least 200 a night and that will equal 1,000 a week,” Jackson said.

His hard work has paid off. Jackson saw the field again in both the Tennessee and South Carolina games where he played with a club cast on his left hand. This week, he is practicing without a cast.

With injuries stacking up on Georgia’s offense and especially the line, Cade Mays is no stranger to the mentality that is necessary for the team to bounce back from the injuries of Jackson and others.

“It doesn’t really rattle us, [but] we definitely want to see everybody on the team healthy,” Mays said. “We get put in great positions in practice to be able to go out there and execute different positions, different scenarios, so it’s something we’re all prepared for.”

The wide receiver room has faced difficulty with injuries this season as well. Lawrence Cager has been the latest addition to the list after injuries to his shoulder and rib.

With Jackson working his way back into the lineup, he has no doubt that the rest of his teammates will be able to as well. Jackson said he is now catching the ball better than he was before and feels more focused than he did prior to the injury.

“We’re still talented enough to go out and perform the way we are supposed to perform,” Jackson said.

Without the comfort of his splint, Jackson said he is only going to play on Saturday against Kentucky if he feels good in practice this week. Blocking is the aspect Jackson is worried about the most.

“I told coach if I can’t block I don’t need to be playing,” Jackson said. “Blocking takes a lot in me and we’ve got the best backs. I tell them everyday if I am on the field, I have your back [because] running the ball wins games.”

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