AUBURN, Ala. Auburn may be without one of its returning defensive starters the entire spring.
LaDarius Owens, who started 12 games for the Tigers last year, is out with an undisclosed injury.
"At this time, probably not," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said when asked of Owens' availability this spring following Saturday's practice. "He's a veteran guy, though. We kind of know what we're getting with him. Give these other guys a chance."
Owens, who made 28 tackles (five for loss) and 2.5 sacks last season, is expected to reprise his role as the Tigers' starter at right defensive end this fall. On the other side, Carl Lawson has been seeing time with the first-team defense in the spot manned by Dee Ford in 2013.
But Owens isn't the only defender at less than 100 percent. JaViere Mitchell also has an ailment of some sort according to fellow linebacker Kris Frost.
"Right now he's hurt," Frost said. "He has a little injury, but he'll be back soon."
Another member of the Tigers' linebacker corps isn't even part of the team at the moment. Though he wouldn't offer any details, Malzahn said Anthony Swain hasn't practiced this week, and when he will rejoin the team is uncertain.
"He's not going through spring right now," the coach said. "I'll be able to be a little more specific probably the next couple of weeks."