By CHARLES ODUM, AP Sports Writer

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Left tackle Andrew Thomas was excused from Monday’s practice for No. 3 Georgia after leaving last week’s win over South Carolina with a left ankle sprain.

Coach Kirby Smart said before the practice he hopes Thomas can play in Saturday’s game against Middle Tennessee State before adding “but we still don’t know.”

The injury threatens a streak of 17 consecutive starts by Thomas, who is only a sophomore but is regarded as perhaps the Bulldogs’ top offensive lineman. He started all 15 games as a true freshman last season.

Thomas was hurt in the third quarter of the 41-17 win over South Carolina. Freshman Cade Mays replaced Thomas and helped the Bulldogs outscore the Gamecocks 21-0 in the quarter to put the game out of reach.

“I was excited for Cade as much as I was disappointed for Andrew because Cade’s worked hard,” Smart said, adding Mays was prepared after working against Georgia’s defensive line in practice.

“I’m glad that he has to go against really good players day in, day out so it’s not unusual for him,” Smart said. “And he did some good things when he went in.”

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