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LSU defensive lineman Ali Gaye (11) on the field in the first half against UCLA, Saturday, September 4, 2021, at The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Cali.

LSU will likely play Central Michigan this weekend without two defensive starters, coach Ed Orgeron said.

Senior defensive end Ali Gaye is "unavailable" for the second-straight game, Orgeron said Wednesday, and junior safety Jay Ward's status is "very doubtful" because of an undisclosed injury.

Ward sustained the injury in the first half of LSU's season-opening loss to UCLA. Before he left the game, the Bruins punted on three straight possessions.

"Hopefully we have him by next week," Orgeron said. "It's day-by-day right now. He's very doubtful for this week. Probably Mississippi State, and I'm not sure of that yet."

As Ward recovered, he didn't dress out for LSU's game last weekend against McNeese State. With him and graduate student Todd Harris Jr. unavailable, graduate student Cameron Lewis started at safety. He recorded 1.5 tackles for loss and half a sack.

Lewis will have a chance to start again Saturday night, as will sophomore Jordan Toles.

"I think Cam Lewis has done a good job, and so has Jordan Toles," Orgeron said. "Both of those guys are going to have to play and do a good job. They've had a good week of practice. They're going to be challenged, but I think they're up for the challenge."

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com