The recovery timeline for LSU's true freshman Kardell Thomas didn't look optimistic when he suffered an ankle injury in preseason camp, and Tigers coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday that the offensive guard will miss the 2019 season.
Orgeron addressed the health of the LSU football team at the first weekly call-in show of the season, and he mentioned Thomas was the team's only season-ending injury.
"We've had one season-ending injury in Kardell Thomas," Orgeron said. "An unfortunate accident. Other than that, we're pretty healthy."
Orgeron said Wednesday that true freshman offensive tackle Thomas Perry also underwent surgery and wouldn't likely return to play before December. Both players will redshirt this season.
The 6-foot-6, 314-pound Perry was the nation's No. 36 ranked offensive tackle of the 2019 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.
Orgeron still held out some hope that perhaps Thomas or Perry could return by the bowl season.
"I think they may come back toward the end of the year," Orgeron said. "Hopefully we can get them in toward the end of the year and play a couple games. Obviously, they're going to redshirt. Two promising young linemen. It's unfortunate the accident they had, but I don't see them playing until December."
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.
Before the injury, Thomas had just returned from 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.
Sophomore Chasen Hines has consistently practiced in the week leading up to LSU's season opener against Georgia Southern on Saturday at 6:30 p.m., but Hines had missed several practices in the preseason recovering from his offseason knee surgery.
"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."
The coaching staff moved senior tackle Badara Traore inside, and Orgeron said the 6-foot-7, 355-pound Bradford "is more suited to guard right now."
"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."