Quentin Thomas is asked the question: How do you play with two torn biceps?
“Usually you don’t,” he said with a hearty laugh.
That’s right: Thomas, LSU’s junior defensive tackle, played with not one, but two torn biceps for most of this season.
He tore his right biceps during the first week of fall camp, an injury that, at first, was expected to force him to miss the season. He tore his left biceps during the Tigers’ loss to Mississippi State, the fourth game of the season.
Thomas said he’ll have the left biceps repaired during off-season shoulder surgery, meaning he’ll likely miss spring practice, coach Les Miles said Monday.
Thomas will play in a ninth straight game with two torn biceps when the No. 22 Tigers (8-4) meet Notre Dame (7-5) in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.
Thomas entered the 2014 season expected to be the senior leader at a defensive tackle position that lost starters Anthony Johnson and Ego Ferguson. Thomas played sparingly after he tore the left biceps against Mississippi State.
“I’m just one of those rare cases where surgery wasn’t required immediately,” he said. “It’s really been up to me. I told them when I tore the second one, ‘If the second goes the same way as the first and I can play, I’m going to play.’”
Thomas will return for his senior season — and he’ll have this tumultuous year to drive him during the spring and summer.
“I’m uncomfortable even talking about it because I’m so displeased how it went,” he said of this season. “I’m going to get back in, grind, and keep doing what I’ve been doing and hopefully I can stay healthy.”
LSU left tackle La’el Collins has a message for those current LSU underclassmen pondering their decision to leave for the NFL: If you have doubts, don’t go.
“I just tell them, ‘If you have any doubts about leaving, I would stay,’” Collins said. “If you have any doubts about making any decision in life, then you probably shouldn’t make that decision.”
Collins passed on the NFL draft to return for his senior season this year. He’s made multiple All-SEC and All-America teams and won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the Southeastern Conference’s best blocker.
He’s projected as a mid- to late-first-round NFL draft pick and stands to make more than $2 million in signing bonus and contract money by returning for his senior year.
No definitive decisions have been made among LSU’s top seven underclassmen, they said.
Safety Jalen Mills said Monday that he hasn’t made a decision, but he appears to be leaning to a return. He said he plans to meet with Miles, the defensive coaches and his mother after the bowl game and “just talk about everything and me coming back.”
Jalen Collins is likely to leave early for the NFL Draft, a source said, confirming a report last week from Yahoo Sports. Linebacker Kwon Alexander is also seen as leaning to leave early, though no final decision has been made.
Linemen Vadal Alexander and Jerald Hawkins, defensive end Danielle Hunter and receiver Travin Dural are all draft eligible. Dural, a redshirt sophomore, said last week he plans to return.
Three sign deals
Three LSU assistant coaches signed two-year contract extensions with the school, a source said.
Defensive backs coach Corey Raymond, tight ends coach Steve Ensminger and defensive line coach Brick Haley have signed their deals.
They were three of five position assistants who had contracts expiring in March. Recruiting coordinator Frank Wilson and receivers coach Adam Henry are the other two.
The Advocate reported Sunday night that defensive coordinator John Chavis has been offered a new contract, extending his deal through at least 2017, but it has not been signed. Texas A&M reached out to Chavis about its coordinator opening.
Miles would not directly comment about that report Monday.
“I have no real feeling there,” he said.
LSU’s field-goal kicker for the Music City Bowl seems to be up in the air, and the Tigers could use two kickers, Miles said Monday.
Trent Domingue and Colby Delahoussaye are battling in practice for the duties. Domingue, a walk-on sophomore, replaced Delahoussaye during the win over Texas A&M after Delahoussaye missed a 22-yard field goal, then his third straight miss.
“It’s up to coach Miles,” Domingue said Monday of the kicking job against Notre Dame. “He’s been talking to us every day about it. Right now, all we’re doing is just kicking field goals. Yesterday, we were both perfect on our kicks. It’s up to him.”
Said Miles: “Very competitive piece. We’re charting every day. Very close. Wouldn’t surprise me if both guys kick.”
Domingue hadn’t attempted a career field goal or extra-point entering the game against A&M. He made two extra-points and field goals from 31 and 27 yards before missing a 39-yarder.
“That’s probably the most nervous I’ve ever been on the extra-point. That very first (extra point) was the most nerve-wracking,” said Domingue, a Mandeville product who also had walk-on offers from Colorado, Kansas State and Kentucky.
Collins on Redemptorist
La’el Collins, a Redemptorist graduate, said there must be a way to keep the school open.
Redemptorist announced last week that it will close after this school year. Collins and former LSU running back Jeremy Hill are recent noted alums.
“It feels unreal,” Collins said. “I hope … there’s something. … Has to be a way to keep that school open.”
LSU running back Kenny Hilliard returned to practice Monday, Miles said. Hilliard has been out since injuring his shoulder in a loss to Alabama on Nov. 8. ... LSU players will wear Music City Bowl patches on the right breasts of their uniforms during the game. … LSU released its schedule for its three-day stay in Nashville before the bowl game. The Tigers will practice twice at Vanderbilt’s indoor football field, Sunday and Monday.
-- Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.