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Southern Lab offensive lineman Kardell Thomas throws up an "L" with an LSU hat on his head after announcing his decision to further his education as an LSU Tiger in a ceremony on early signing day, Wednesday, December 19, 2018, at Southern Lab in Baton Rouge, La.

The LSU football team has taken its first major injury hit of the 2019 season.

Freshman guard Kardell Thomas, who suffered an injury during Wednesday's practice, is going to have surgery on his leg, LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Saturday. It is possible that Thomas will miss the rest of the season.

Orgeron called it an "unfortunate injury" and said Thomas accidentally got hit from behind.

A source said Thomas' injury is to his ankle.

"I don't know if he's out for the year, but I know he's getting surgery," Orgeron said. "I think he probably he is. I haven't heard the final result on that, but he is getting surgery."

Thomas, a 6-foot-3, 329-pound Southern Lab graduate, was one of Orgeron's prize recruits in a 2019 class that ranked No. 5 nationally, according to 247Sports composite rankings. The former five-star recruit was expected to provide needed depth at guard.

Thomas practiced with the second team in practice, and Orgeron said he had "been in the mix" to get a shot at starting during the season.

Thomas returned Wednesday after missing four straight practices from what Orgeron previously said was a "minor camp injury." The LSU offensive line has been hampered by such injuries throughout the preseason — especially at guard.

One projected starting guard, Chasen Hines, has missed multiple practices returning from offseason knee surgery that kept him out of spring football, and the other, Damien Lewis, missed several practices in the past week.

"Obviously, we're thin on the offensive line," Orgeron said. "So we're going to have some guys that are going to have to play both positions."

Orgeron said LSU will be "stronger" at guard when Lewis returns, and he said the coaching staff has moved freshman Anthony Bradford from tackle to guard to fill in depth. Senior tackle Badara Traore can also play guard, Orgeron said.

The 6-foot-7, 355-pound Bradford "is more suited to guard right now," Orgeron said.

"He obviously looks like a guard," Orgeron said. "He's big and he's physical. We needed help in there. We thought that he could do a better job at guard, and Badara can do a better job at tackle."

Senior Adrian Magee, who started twice at left guard in 2018, has been practicing at left guard with the first team, and junior Donavaughn Campbell has been practicing at right guard with the first team in Lewis' absence.

Orgeron said Magee is the "veteran" who "has played some good football," and Hines hasn't yet "been put through the fire" to compete with Magee since he's been out recovering from his injury.

The 6-foot-5, 360-pound Campbell started once in 2018, against Ole Miss in Week 5, while former staring left guard Garrett Brumfield was out with a leg injury. Campbell had 63 snaps in that game, and he wouldn't appear again until getting two total snaps against Rice in Week 11. 

The Ponchatoula High graduate was the nation's No. 6 guard of the 2016 class, and Orgeron said "he's probably had his best camp" since he's been at LSU.

"He's in there; he can play for us," Orgeron said. "We have no problem putting him in. He's not a starter yet, but he's doing better."

The preseason is somewhat resembling the injuries the offensive line had to deal with during the 2018 season, when it took LSU seven games to field the same starting rotation in back-to-back games.

At one point this preseason, LSU practiced with just 11 of its 17 offensive linemen, though players like backup center Charles Turner have returned to practice after missing practices due to what Orgeron called "minor camp injuries."

Indefinitely suspended right guard Ed Ingram also remains on the team while awaiting trial in Dallas County on Sept. 13 that stems from his arrest on two counts of aggravated sexual assault.

Orgeron said multiple times during the offseason that he would welcome Ingram back to the team if charges are cleared.

Meanwhile, the Tigers offense has continued to practice with players who have gone in and out of practice over the past weeks, like Traore and starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles, who both missed practice Friday.

Freshman offensive tackle Thomas Perry also has not practiced in five straight practices.

The offensive line struggled in its lack of depth in LSU's second preseason scrimmage on Saturday, when Orgeron said the offense gave up six sacks. In the first preseason scrimmage, the offense had given up five.

Orgeron pointed to LSU's 40-32 Fiesta Bowl victory over Central Florida, when the Tigers played without several of its starting defenders because of injury, suspension or declaring early for the NFL.

"We played with eight starters in a major bowl and won the game," Orgeron said. "So we're giving these guys opportunities to play. It's going to be big to see those guys on film and how well they did."

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.