Welcome news for LSU; Jordan injury not as serious as feared

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<p class="p1">Finally, some encouraging news for LSU on the injury front.

<p class="p1">And former Barbe standout Bryce Jordan certainly deserved it.

<p class="p1">Head coach Paul Mainieri feared that Jordan, who missed all of last year following knee surgery, was headed for a similar fate for the rest of this season after a mishap Friday night against Texas A&amp;M. 

<p class="p1">But by Monday Mainieri had far more encouraging news.

<p class="p1">Mainieri said Jordan likely won’t play this week when the Tigers host Louisiana Tech tonight in advance of a weekend SEC home series with Tennessee.

<p class="p1">“Very doubtful,” the coach said.

<p class="p1">But the injury Jordan suffered in a collision at first base while running out a ground ball Friday night did not, as feared, result in a torn meniscus, the same injury to his right knee that required surgery last year.

<p class="p1">“The doctor just thinks it’s a bad bone bruise because he doesn’t have much meniscus material there in his knee after two surgeries on it,” Mainieri said,

<p class="p1">“He’s certainly not going to be out for the rest of the year, but I think his status for this week is doubtful. It’s still really sore, and he can’t really do much.”

<p class="p1">Meanwhile Nick Coomes was practicing at Jordan’s spot at first base to shore up an already injury-riddled infield.

<p class="p1">Coomes played their much of last year there but has not played the spot this season.

<p class="p1">“We needed some good news,” Mainieri said of the rash of injuries the Tigers are battling. “Any little victory we can get on the health side of things, we’ll take. I was really happy for (Jordan). Of course, we wish he was ready to play this week, but we’ll just have to play it by ear.”

<p class="p1">Starting shortstop Josh Smith, who hasn’t played in a month with a back ailment, was taking ground balls at his spot Monday, and his return could be imminent, possibly as soon as the weekend according to Mainieri.

<p class="p1">Mainieri said that second baseman Brandt Broussard should have the splint removed from the thumb that required surgery soon, but his return is still well down the road.

<p class="p1">Health is not a problem with the LSU pitching staff, but Mainieri hinted there might be changes in the weekend rotation for the Tennessee series.

<p class="p1">Opening starter Zack Hess has been dominant in recent starts and freshman No. 3 starter Ma’Khail Hilliard’s 1.34 ERA leads the SEC.

<p class="p1">But junior righthander Caleb Gilbert (3-3, 4.89 ERA) has struggled recently in the middle games of weekend series. He did not survive the first inning last Friday while giving up six runs in a 9-2 loss to the Aggies.

<p class="p1">Mainieir said only that he and pitching coach Alan Dunn were “talking about” possible changes, which could mean only that Hilliard and Gilbert will switch spots.

<p class="p1">“It’s something we’re addressing,” Mainieri said.

<p class="p1">Freshman AJ Labas (3-1, 2.73) will start tonight’s game against Louisiana Tech.

<p class="p1">The Bulldogs are 24-10, 9-3 in Conference USA and are ranked No. 25 nationally in the D1 Baseball poll.

<p class="p1">The Bulldogs will throw lefthander David Leal (2-1, 1.65), who has 46 strike outs in 49 innings this season.

<p class="p1">The Tigers (20-13, 6-6 SEC) enter the week in third place in the tight  SEC West, two games behind 8-4 Arkansas and one game behind 7-5 Ole Miss.

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<p class="p1" style="text-align: left;"><span class="s1"><strong>La. Tech at LSU 6:30 p.m., SECN</strong></span>

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