Junior designated hitter Bryce Jordan was filling in at third base during a scrimmage Tuesday night when his knee buckled as he was chasing down a fly ball in foul territory.
LSU received bad news Wednesday when the results of his MRI came back: Jordan will need surgery that will require him to miss the entire 2017 season.
"That's a pretty significant blow to us," coach Paul Mainieri said.
Jordan started 54 games as a sophomore, hitting .293 with five home runs and 33 RBIs. Mainieri was anticipating he would be a middle-of-the-order bat for LSU as a junior.
"He’s totally dedicated to our team, extremely hard-working, a great competitor, a very clutch player," Mainieri said. "To see how upset he is and what he knows is ahead of him in addition to just not being able to contribute to the team is obviously a difficult thing for him to deal with. My heart’s broken for him."
The only reason Jordan was playing third base was because the injury bug already hit LSU.
Mainieri said the team had a couple of other players go down with comparatively minor injuries at Tuesday's practice, when Jordan Romero sprained an ankle and Mason Templet tweaked a hamstring. LSU was already without Chris Reid and Brennan Breaux, who were nursing other injuries.
So Jordan filled in on the infield, as he'd done throughout fall to allow LSU to field an entire defense during scrimmages.
"Bryce only knows one way to play the game: full speed," Mainieri said. "It was a pop fly in foul territory between third base and the catcher. I think he overran it, tried to stop real quick and his knee buckled. It was just one of those freak injuries."
Jordan's twin brother, Beau, was playing left field when the injury occurred. He was one of the first ones to make it to Bryce Jordan's side.
"You always hate to see a teammate go down, but when it's your brother, when you've been playing with him your whole life, it kind of hits you hard," Beau Jordan said. "But we're going to have to move on, somebody is going to have to step up and fill in his spot."
Beau Jordan said his brother was doing well, considering the circumstances.
"It's part of the game, people get hurt all the time," Beau Jordan said. "You just hate to see it happen, especially this close to the season."
Now LSU must figure out how to replace what it anticipated would be a key member of its lineup.
Mainieri named three players who could be given the first crack at replicating Bryce Jordan's production: senior right-handers Romero and Bryce Adams, and freshman left-hander Mason Templet.
Romero's status for next weekend is uncertain after he sprained his ankle Tuesday, and he's fallen on the catching depth chart because of an issue with his throwing shoulder. But he hit nine home runs as a part-time starter last season and could add some of the pop that Bryce Jordan was going to bring to the lineup.
Adams struggled in his lone season with LSU, hitting .150 in 20 at-bats last season. But he had a strong summer at the plate and has carried that over into the spring.
"Bryce Adams has been swinging the bat terrific," Mainieri said. "He hit three balls (Tuesday) really hard. He probably wasn’t going to end up being in the left field mix because of defense, but I was wondering how I was going to get him at-bats, so he probably gets some sort of an opportunity."
Or, Mainieri said, it could be a platoon situation. He's compared Templet's left-handed swing to that of former LSU All-American Blake Dean.
"You have to deal with it. You have no choice. It’s part of the game," Mainieri said. "Somebody will step up and take advantage of the opportunity, I have no doubt about that"