BATON ROUGE, La. - LSU sophomore cornerback Eli Ricks will miss the rest of the season with an injury, coach Ed Orgeron announced Wednesday, striking another blow to an already battered team.
Ricks had a shoulder injury that bothered him the first half of the season, according to a source. After playing through the injury, he and his family decided to get surgery this week.
"It was a nagging injury," Orgeron said. "He kept on playing with it, and it kept on reoccurring. So he and his family decided they were going to get operated on."
The decision added another starter to LSU's list of injured players. The Tigers have now lost defensive end Andre Anthony, linebacker Jared Small, wide receiver Kayshon Boutte and Ricks for the season. All-American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. also remains out indefinitely after undergoing a procedure on his left foot.
The injuries to Boutte, Ricks and Stingley came within the last two weeks, suddenly making three of LSU's best players unavailable as the Tigers approach the most difficult part of their schedule.
On top of the season-ending injuries, LSU has plenty of other unavailable players, particularly on the defensive side as safety Major Burns, defensive end Ali Gaye and nose tackle Joseph Evans won't play this weekend against No. 20 Florida because of injuries.
Plus, running back John Emery Jr. is still academically ineligible, and fifth-year senior quarterback Myles Brennan continues to recover from a broken left arm.
All together, LSU doesn't have seven starters.
Ricks, a former five-star recruit and freshman All-American, had made 11 tackles and one interception this year. He and Stingley gave LSU one of the best cornerback tandems in the country entering the season.
Without them, Orgeron said LSU will likely move nickel safety Cordale Flott to cornerback and freshman Sage Ryan to nickel.
Flott has been one of the best slot defenders in the Southeastern Conference this season with 26 tackles, two pass breakups, one interception and one forced fumble. Ryan, a former five-star recruit, made his debut last weekend against Kentucky after finally recovering from what Orgeron described as a "nagging injury."
"It does make it tough, but next man up," Orgeron said. "Somebody's got to rise up to the occasion. We've lost several players, especially starters on defense. We've got some young guys that have to step up."