If Leonard Fournette and Toby Weathersby weren’t close before, perhaps they became closer sitting in LSU’s training room as they received treatment for ankle injuries.
Like Fournette, Weathersby suffered a high ankle sprain. The Tigers' star running back's injury came in preseason camp. Weathersby's injury happened in the second quarter in a Sept. 17 win against Mississippi State.
"We were in the training room together doing a little rehab, making time go by," Weathersby said. "(Us) going through the same things ... joking around and getting better at the same time."
Weathersby started the first three games for No. 19 LSU (5-2, 3-1 Southeastern Conference) at right tackle but hasn't played since. He returned to practice in a limited capacity last week. He was in full pads during Tuesday’s practice, wearing a gold jersey, which signifies limited contact.
“I went out there yesterday,” Weathersby said Wednesday. “It didn’t feel like I missed a beat going through the drills and technique wise. I felt good.”
Interim coach Ed Orgeron believes his entire offensive line, including Weathersby, will be available for the Nov. 5 contest against No. 1 Alabama (8-0, 5-0) at 7 p.m. in Tiger Stadium. The Houston native couldn’t put a percentage on his health at this point but said he feels the best he’s been since the injury.
“It’s getting there,” Weathersby. “It’s a day-by-day process.”
Maea Teuhema was Weathersby's initial replacement at right tackle, but he didn’t remain there. Because of Will Clapp’s recent right shoulder injury, which kept him out of an Oct. 15 win against Southern Miss, Teuhema moved to left guard, and center Ethan Pocic moved out to right tackle against the Golden Eagles. Andy Dodd replaced Pocic at center.
Clapp returned for the LSU’s 38-21 win against Ole Miss, pushing Teuhema back to tackle and Pocic back to center.
After missing more than a month, Weathersby said his biggest struggle was staying positive.
“The positivity healed me faster and just rehabbing and getting back on my toes,” he said. “That’s what got me here to where I am right now.”
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Having torn the ACL in his left knee less than a month earlier, LSU fullback J.D. Moore practiced only the week before LSU’s season-altering game against Alabama in 2015.
And when Moore did play against the nation’s best run defense, it didn’t go well.
“The knee wasn’t handling that kind of intensity,” Moore said. “So I went down pretty early in that game.”
Moore played a handful of snaps before running into a wall of Alabama defenders with 6:35 left in the second quarter. The Ruston native re-injured his knee, ending his night and his season.
“We really weren’t sure how much I’d be able to play,” Moore said. “Obviously, some guys have had more success playing with torn ligaments and stuff. I didn’t really have an expectation. I was just happy to be back out there, and I really wish I could have helped and contributed more. But who’s to say that really would have helped us win the game?”
Without his lead blocker, Fournette rushed for a season-low 31 yards on 19 carries in a 30-16 loss.
Moore is now dealing with another injury before the Alabama game, but this one is less serious. He suffered a cervical strain in his neck on the opening kickoff against Ole Miss, keeping him out for the rest of the game. But Moore said Wednesday he feels fine and would be practicing if it were a game week.
Backup Bry’Kiethon Mouton proved he could pick up Moore’s slack last week, as Fournette set the LSU single-game rushing record against the Rebels.
“(Mouton) did a good job executing,” Moore said. “We didn’t have a ton of fullback play, but when his number was called, he did a really good job.”
Ross Dellenger contributed to this report.
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