LSU's leading rusher could be fully recovered in time for the national championship game, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said.
Junior running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire injured his hamstring in practice ahead of LSU's Peach Bowl semifinal against Oklahoma, and the injury limited his participation in the Tigers' 63-28 win over the Sooners on Saturday.
Orgeron said Edwards-Helaire is "a little sore" and has been getting treatment this week. LSU is off until Thursday, and the Tigers will practice through Sunday before taking another break. LSU will then resume practice the following Wednesday.
Edwards-Helaire has rushed for 1,304 yards this season and leads the Southeastern Conference with rushing touchdowns.
"I think by next Wednesday he should be full speed," Orgeron said Tuesday on his national championship conference call. "I think we'll take it slow with him, see what he can do."
The LSU coaching staff took it slow with Edwards-Helaire in the week leading up to the Peach Bowl, saying all along that they thought he'd play but didn't know how much or effective he'd be.
Edwards-Helaire didn't practice during the Peach Bowl. He did some straight-line running, and Orgeron said last week that given the type of injury, he wasn't certain how much Edwards-Helaire would be able to make cuts when he ran.
Edwards-Helaire had two carries for 14 yards against Oklahoma, and instead of pulling off one of his trademark spin moves or cuts, he tucked his head and plowed through a defender on a 14-yard run in the first quarter.
Chris Curry, a redshirt freshman, started in Edwards-Helaire's place, and he impressed Orgeron with 16 carries for 91 yards. It was Curry's best game in his short LSU career, and the Florida native showcased bouts of power and speed with runs that included a 13 and 20-yard gain.
Before the Peach Bowl, Curry was buried at the fourth spot on the depth chart behind true freshmen Tyrion Davis-Price and John Emery, and the 6-foot, 215-pound running back entered the game with 30 carries for 99 yards.
Orgeron had said Davis-Price was LSU's "most consistent back" outside Edwards-Helaire, so it was expected that Davis-Price was going to get the majority of the carries against Oklahoma.
Davis-Price, a Southern Lab graduate, entered the Peach Bowl with 60 carries for 270 yards and six touchdowns. Against Oklahoma, he had four carries for 25 yards.
Curry was the feature back against the Sooners because of the type of run plays LSU planned to run, Orgeron said, and the Tigers coaching staff "felt that Chris was the best one to run it."
In the era of the NCAA transfer portal, Orgeron said Curry's loyalty to the team "says a lot about his character, his grit, his toughness."
Orgeron said Curry told him, "I'm going to be one of your best backs. Just watch."
"And boy I tell you what, he took his opportunity," Orgeron said Tuesday. "I'm so proud of him."