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LSU linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson (18) on the field as LSU holds its first fall practice, Friday, August 2, 2019, at the Tigers' practice facility on LSU's campus in Baton Rouge, La.

Three of LSU's star starting defenders have sustained minor injuries within the first week of preseason camp, Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said in an interview on 104.5 ESPN's "Off the Bench" Tuesday morning, and Orgeron expects the players to return by the start of the 2019 season.

Sophomore outside linebacker K'Lavon Chaisson, who missed the 2018 season with an ACL injury he suffered in Week 1, and senior cornerback Kristian Fulton, who sat out most of spring football due to the foot surgery he underwent following an injury in Week 10 against Arkansas, both missed practices on Sunday and Monday afternoon.

The absence swelled to junior safety Grant Delpit, a unanimous All-American in 2018, when he also missed practice on Monday.

Orgeron said the injuries are minor and are "nothing to be concerned with."

"(It's) nothing for a long time," Orgeron told "Off the Bench." "Just minor camp injuries. Those guys are going to fight through it, and we'll be fine."

Orgeron also said sophomore guard Chasen Hines is still "limited" with a lingering knee injury, and he's taking second team reps at center to fill in for true freshman Charles Turner who is out with a minor injury.

The 6-foot-3, 336-pound Hines missed the spring due to offseason surgery, and he sat out of individual drills on Sunday, but returned to the drills on Monday.

"Chasen Hines is coming along, he's still a little limited with his knee injury," Orgeron said. "But I think he's going to be 100 percent when the season comes."

Hines, who started in one game at left guard last season, took snaps behind starting center Lloyd Cushenberry on both Sunday and Monday's practices, in the place of Turner, who missed both days.

The 6-foot-4, 266-pound Turner was the No. 8-ranked center of the 2019 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.

"Charles Turner and he's out right now with a minor injury so Chasen has to take some second team snaps and he's doing a good job at it."

The offensive line is a point of improvement during preseason camp, Orgeron has often said.

Last season, LSU ranked 106th nationally with 35 sacks allowed and 110th with 89 tackles for loss allowed, and Orgeron said starting right tackle Austin Deculus and left tackle Saahdiq Charles both must improve.

Orgeron said the coaching staff talked Thursday morning about using 6-foot-7, 323-pound senior tackle Badara Traore as the team's "third tackle," which means he'd sub in for both Deculus and Charles.

On Tuesday morning, Orgeron said the offensive tackles are "the most improved unit on the field."

"The tackles are the ones that have made the most improvement," Orgeron said. "Austin Deculus and Saahdiq Charles are having an excellent camp."

Orgeron also spoke on another position battle on the defensive side, at inside linebacker between Jacob Phillips, who started in 12 games in 2018, and Patrick Queen, who backed up former All-American Devin White and started in the final three games at outside linebacker.

Orgeron said 6-foot-3, 239-pound sophomore Damone Clark, a Southern Lab graduate, "is coming on fast" and could make a run at the starting job.

"He's going to be in the mix for that first position," Orgeron said. "He is battling there." 


Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.