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LSU defensive end Rashard Lawrence (90) dives to make the stop on Syracuse wide receiver Ervin Philips (3) during the first half of LSU's football game against Syracuse Saturday Sept. 23, 2017, in Baton Rouge, La..

ADVOCATE STAFF PHOTO BY BILL FEIG

Rashard Lawrence called his mother every day for two weeks.

He needed someone to talk to.

The LSU defensive end was depressed. He couldn’t practice, and he definitely couldn’t play on the ankle he injured against BYU in the season opener.

He wanted to play last weekend at Mississippi State, but by Wednesday of that week he knew there was no hope.

That game was particularly rough for Lawrence, who watched from the sidelines while the severely depleted defensive line struggled to catch its breath, let alone stop the Bulldogs offense.

His mother, Agnes Lawrence, helped him stay positive while he prayed just about every night in hopes of rejoining his teammates.

On Saturday, his prayers were answered.

“Missing two games was depressing,” Lawrence said. “I talked to my mom. She helped me through it. But to be out there with my brothers (against Syracuse), that was big.”

There was some concern at first he wouldn’t return against Syracuse, but by Monday he believed he was ready to play. On Wednesday, coach Ed Orgeron officially announced he would.

Lawrence was an early spark for a defense that struggled with consistency all night, providing the Tigers with five tackles, including a sack and another tackle for loss.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t perfect.

Lawrence left Saturday’s game with about eight minutes to play after injuring his other ankle, but walkeed into postgame interviews under his own power and without a boot.

He added this injury wasn’t as bad as the injury to the opposite ankle that knocked him out for two weeks.

“He hurt his other ankle,” Orgeron said. “We’re different with Rashard Lawrence in there. I think you guys can see that. He’s our leader. He’s our bell cow. He played on a hurt ankle tonight, but he played the whole game. He got hurt, but hopefully it doesn’t keep him out long because he makes a difference.”

Beyond what he does for the defensive line, LSU needs Lawrence back to slow down the garage of injuries that’s plagued the program the last few weeks.

The Tigers lost John Battle early in the third quarter with what was reported on the radio as a stinger. Even with his early departure, Battle had one of the best defensive performances for the Tigers with 11 tackles, one for loss, a forced fumble and a pass break up.

Fortunately his initial outlook appears to be optimistic.

“I think he’s going to be fine,” Orgeron said. “I don’t think it’s going to be anything that requires surgery or anything like that. But hopefully he’s back. Were very thin back there.”

Battle’s injury, however serious it may be, adds to the list of Tigers working there way back to the field.

Nose Tackle Ed Alexander did not play against Syracuse after injuring his hand against Mississippi State, but Orgeron said on Wednesday he should return in about two weeks. Andre Anthony has been out with an ankle injury since the first week of practice and has not played this season.

Safety Ed Paris is expected to miss an extended period of time — if not the entire season — after suffering a serious knee injury in practice on Tuesday. Orgeron did not give specifics on Paris’ injury, but he was seen on the sidelines Saturday night with crutches and a brace on his left knee.

Orgeron said on Wednesday defensive end Frank Herron will return on Oct. 14 against Auburn after missing the start of the season for an undisclosed reason.

Edge rusher Sci Martin and cornerback Kristian Fulton have also not stepped on the field this season, but no time line for their return has been laid out.

"We got guys playing without any experience," Orgeron said of the injuries. "Got to play. It’s going to get tough down the stretch here."

Follow Mike Gegenheimer on Twitter, @Mike_Gegs.