Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lee Sidelined with Minor injury

LSU football coach Les Miles said an “injury of soft tissue” to one of redshirt freshman Jarrett Lee’s legs isn’t serious and shouldn’t significantly affect the preseason competition for the role of starting quarterback.

The injury, which Miles said happened Saturday afternoon, kept Lee from participating in both practices Monday. After the second practice Miles said he didn’t know how long Lee would be off the field.

“It’s not serious, it is not surgical — it is a rest issue,” Miles said, “and it’s in his leg.”

Miles didn’t specify which leg. He described the injury as happening in an unusual way.

“Somebody fell into the guy,” Miles said.

Lee was wearing a green jersey, which LSU quarterbacks wear to remind their teammates they are not to be hit. Players who are injured but able to practice also wear green to note they are limited to noncontact participation.

“The guy’s wearing a green shirt,” Miles said of Lee. “I’d say that that would be unusual at best, but those things happen.”

Miles stressed the injury isn’t serious.

“It is not a severe anything, so we feel like we’ll have him back in really short order,” Miles said. “Don’t know exactly what length of time short order is.”

True freshman Jordan Jefferson took more snaps in Lee’s absence, alternating with sophomore Andrew Hatch, but Miles said he didn’t expect Lee’s injury to keep Lee from challenging for the starting job.

“Only if it slows his progress,” Miles said. “He was having a great day on Saturday, so I don’t know. I would not suppose that it would hinder him in pursuing the job.”

Given a second chance to speculate on a timetable for Lee’s return to the practice field, Miles said LSU’s medical staff has been giving him optimistic reports about the tissue.

“Honestly, they keep upgrading it,” Miles said. “There’s little swelling. Everything feels pretty good. It’s really precautionary.”

Movin’ on up

At least while Lee is out, Jefferson will be LSU’s second quarterback.

“He’s getting a lot more snaps just because Jarrett’s watching,” Miles said.

“He made a nice little scramble in this ‘go’ that we just had, probably for about 30 yards and a score,” Miles said after the afternoon practice. “Nice play.”

Jefferson isn’t a legitimate contender to be the starter for the Aug. 30 season opener vs. Appalachian State, Miles confirmed. That race continues to be between Hatch and Lee, both of whom have been in the program a full year longer than Jefferson.

“I would think that the guys that have been in the offense a little longer certainly have an advantage, so that advantage is kind of what you’re seeing,” Miles said, “and yet if he continues to make exceptional plays and can grow in his learning, then …

“The opportunity for him to start in the first game? Not likely, OK? The opportunity for him to be ready somewhere down the road? It’s not unforeseen.”

Miles hinted there are ways Jefferson could help the offense early in the season, and LSU has to plan and prepare him for a number of possibilities. As he matures his opportunities for playing time should increase, the coach said.

Other health issues

Two seniors, center Brett Helms and defensive tackle Charles Alexander, again missed practice with what Miles has described as minor injuries.

“I think they’ll be back maybe in a couple days,” Miles said. “I don’t know exactly how long for Helms, but I know he’s chomping at the bit, running around here. One thing we want to do, especially when we have time: We want to get them healthy.

“I think it’s precautionary. I think probably both could play if we were playing a game today.”

Francois disciplined

Miles said redshirt freshman safety Stefoin Francois’ absence wasn’t health-related.

“Stefoin Francois is facing some disciplinary problems with team,” Miles said without specifying what team rules Francois may have broken.

“Currently, he’s not practicing, and we’ll have to look into how we’ll go from here.”

Miles stopped short of calling it a suspension.

“I’m not ready to say that just yet,” Miles said. “I’m looking at what I have there.”

Odds and ends

Miles said Brady Dalfrey and Josh Jasper could take turns punting this season. Miles said he might pick Dalfrey if he had to pick a leader Monday. … The defense is “a little ahead” of the offense, Miles said, but the offense is improving. … He said LSU will run about 20 plays per team in a mini-scrimmage today that will feature live tackling.

Celebration penalty?

Miles said he was glad to see highlights that included at least one of Jacob Hester’s first two touchdowns for the San Diego Chargers, but Miles was slow to believe reporters who told him the former LSU running back spiked the ball after his first score.

“I’m going to write his mother,” Miles deadpanned. “That’s not right.”

Miles acted as if those reports had to be false.

“He didn’t do that,” he said as if trying to reassure himself.

“He did this too?” Miles asked, waving a hand in front of his face in the “you can’t see me” manner popularized by his players last season.

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