LSU edge rusher Arden Key will undergo surgery this week for a 2-month-old injury to a finger on his right hand, a source confirmed with The Advocate.
Key, a junior All-American, is expected to recover from the surgery in time for LSU's bowl game in late December or early January. He's played with the injury to his pinky finger for the last two months, wearing a cast or bandage on the outside final two fingers on his right hand beginning against Auburn on Oct. 14.
In the loss at Alabama, the injury to his finger is evident. He wore a bandage binding his right ring and pinky fingers to stabilize what appeared to be a broken, crooked pinky finger.
The 6-6, 250-pounder has missed the Tigers' last two games of the regular season with a right knee injury he suffered against Arkansas. Surgery for the finger had been scheduled for after the regular season. He did not walk with the team down the Tiger Walk ahead of the 45-21 win over Texas A&M in the regular season finale and was not spotted on the sideline during the game.
Several injured players were present at the game on the sideline, including tackle KJ Malone and safety Ed Paris. Afterward, coach Ed Orgeron called Key "questionable." He repeated that answer when pressed about Key's status for the bowl game.
LSU (9-3, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) awaits its bowl destination, something released Sunday. Plenty of options are available to the Tigers, including a return trip to the Citrus Bowl.
LSU is not completely removed from the coaching carousel.
Key's final hurrah in an LSU uniform could come at a site in which he thrived last year against Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville. Many expect Key to bolt after this season for the NFL draft. He's projected as a first-round pick, despite this season.
He missed the first two games of 2017 while recovering from May shoulder surgery, and it took until late October for him to round into game shape. He's got 4 sacks, 8 off of his school-record from last season.
In all, Key completely missed four games, battled the finger injury in four of the eight games in which he played and played more than two quartersagainst Arkansas with an injured knee. Key has not been made available to reporters since last December.
Last week, Orgeron spoke about how some thought Key would sit out his junior season in preparation for the draft
"He says, 'Coach, I am going to get that shoulder fixed, I'm going to come back.' And his momma guaranteed me we're going to have a great season for the LSU Tigers," Orgeron said.
"And other people would think, well, I don't know, he's getting that shoulder operated, he's going in (the draft) and that was not the case. That was not his family. That was not his mindset."
"Shout D-White out! Shout D-White out!”