LSU coach Les Miles expects LT Jerald Hawkins to start at Ole Miss; Jim Hawthorne could return to radio booth next week _lowres

Advocate staff photo by BILL FEIG -- LSU coach Les Miles, center, celebrates the Tigers' Sept. 12 win at Mississippi State with wide receiver Malachi Dupre, left, and cornerback Tre'Davious White.

One of the two players on LSU’s injury report are ready to go.

Junior left tackle Jerald Hawkins (ankle) practiced today, and Miles expects him to start against Ole Miss. Junior tight end DeSean Smith, however, did not practice and is “doubtful” for Saturday’s contest against the Rebels (7-3, 4-2).

The coach said sophomore KJ Malone, who replaced Hawkins against Arkansas, “could be the guy” if Hawkins is unable to play. Miles said he’d also consider shuffling around the offensive line, specifically mentioning true freshman Toby Weathersby.

Smith’s injury leaves the Tigers (7-2, 4-2) with only two tight ends: junior Colin Jeter and true freshman Foster Moreau. Senior Dillon Gordon had season-ending Achilles surgery three weeks ago. Weathersby has served as the Tigers’ third tight end in goal-line situations.

D. Nkemdiche questionable

LSU might face a shorthanded defense Saturday.

Ole Miss senior outside linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche’s status is in question due to a personal matter, according to a report from The Clarion-Ledger. He has started nine games and played in all 10 games, racking up a team-high 53 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss for a defense that allows only 125.7 rushing yards per game.

Cameron’s contract

As far as Miles is concerned, offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s contract can wait.

“Haven’t done a lot of work on contracts considering the season,” he said Wednesday during his post-practice press conference. “I generally wait until the season is over.”

Cameron is in the final season of a three-year deal, which expires March 31, 2016 and pays him $1.5 million.

Hawthorne out again Saturday

Long-time radio play-by-play announcer Jim Hawthorne will call Thursday night’s LSU men’s basketball game against South Alabama, but won’t make the trip Saturday to Ole Miss.

Hawthorne, 71, is recovering from an undisclosed medical procedure that caused him to miss football games at Alabama and against Arkansas. It hasn’t been determined yet whether Hawthorne will call LSU’s Nov. 28 home finale against Texas A&M game.

Marcus Rodrigue and Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.