Coach Brian Kelly said that Dellinger had surgery on Tuesday, and the timeline for him to make the Auburn game will be very tight because there was a plate and a screw inserted.
“At first thought, we thought we could get him ready, but right now, I’d say he’d be doubtful for Saturday,” Kelly told reporters Wednesday.
Kelly also said this week that the more he and this staff learn about this LSU team, the realization that this group can ill afford to have any injuries, particularly along the offensive line. The sophomore has spent time at both centers and left guard during LSU’s 3-1 start to the 2022 season, and his absence will undoubtedly be felt.
“It’s a team that will fight, but we’re thin in some areas. So, we’ve got to make sure we keep our team rested,” Kelly said Monday. “We’ve got to stay away from injuries, things of that nature. But, there’s no doubt about the fight. These guys will fight for the right reasons.”
That fight will be tested up front along the offensive line as the purple and gold shift to a fourth lineup change in five weeks. This is a big blow to an offensive line that was just starting to find some continuity up front with Dellinger, Emery Jones, Charles Turner, Miles Frazier, and Will Campbell. If there was an injury to crop up, the guard was probably the position LSU could survive a short-term hit.
Frazier will now move over to the left guard, leaving both veterans Anthony Bradford and Tre’Mond Shorts to battle it out this week in practice, according to Geaux247 sources. Bradford and Shorts have certainly had their struggles this season when in the rotation but have the most experience of any rotational linemen and allow LSU to keep the rest of its pieces in place.
There are hopes that Dellinger can be ready for the Tennessee game with the proper clubbing around his hand for protection, but this will be an ongoing situation to monitor. His injury also shakes up the center position quite a bit as well. Dellinger is the backup center, and it now becomes imperative that starter Charles Turner can stay healthy for however long Dellinger is out.
LSU’s offensive line play has been a bright spot the last two weeks for this offense, giving quarterback Jayden Daniels a consistently clean pocket and even opening some holes in the run game last weekend.
Kardell Thomas and Xavier Hill could see additional playing time due to the Dellinger injury. How this group responds to the latest lineup change will tell us much about how far the o-line has come in weeks.