BR.FloridaLSU.112016 HS 1641.JPG

LSU linebacker Kendell Beckwith (52) is escorted off the field by team trainers against Florida in the first half, Saturday, November 19, 2016, at LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

Advocate staff photo by HILARY SCHEINUK

LSU players are trying their best to lift Kendell Beckwith's spirits.

For instance, they jest at Beckwith about playing in the Citrus Bowl, knowing full well that the Tigers linebacker is recovering from surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. He's not expected to play in the Senior Bowl, let alone in LSU's bowl on Dec. 31 against Louisville.

He's been rehabbing in LSU's training room.

“We all go in there joking,” linebacker Donnie Alexander said. "Somebody walked in there and said, ‘Hey, what’s up Kendell? I heard you’re getting ready for the game’ and stuff like that. Just to mess with him."

Beckwith did, indeed, rupture the primary ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of the Tigers’ loss to Florida on Nov. 19, Alexander said. For many, it is expected news.

The injury came eight months after he sprained the medial collateral ligament in the same knee during spring practice, but this one appeared much more serious. It was.

Beckwith spent several minutes writhing on the field at Tiger Stadium while trainers huddled around the senior from Clinton. He walked off on his own power, lightly putting pressure on the knee.

At the time of the injury, he was the Southeastern Conference’s second-leading tackler.

“We’ve been seeing him a lot lately because he’s been in the training room,” Alexander said. “We all go in there and pass by him and give him a few words and mess around.”

Alexander said Beckwith is hoping to be ready for LSU’s pro day, usually in March. Beckwith, projected as a second- to third-round draft pick, was invited to the Senior Bowl, scheduled for Jan. 28. The draft is set for April 27-29 in Philadelphia.

Beckwith could conceivably return for pro day, roughly four months away. Christian LaCouture tore his ACL in early August, and he returned to practice last week.

Beckwith, a 6-foot-3, 247-pounder, chose to return for his senior season, despite projection having him drafted as high as the second round.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter, @RossDellenger.