HOOVER, Ala. — Carl Lawson didn’t play in Auburn’s A-Day game, reportedly due to a knee injury suffered during a practice leading up to the annual spring intrasquad contest.
Now it’s up in the air how much time he’ll miss. At SEC media days on Monday, Gus Malzahn confirmed that the sophomore defensive end had surgery on his left anterior cruciate ligament in May. Auburn’s coach said Dr. James Andrews wanted to wait two weeks for the swelling to go down.
At that point, it was decided that Lawson would have to go under the knife.
“(Andrews) determined he needed to get it fixed,” Malzahn said. “So we got if fixed. Carl is working very hard.”
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Malzahn wasn’t sure whether Lawson will play in 2014, but noted the Alpharetta, Ga., native was “determined to try to make it back sometime this year.”
Count Gabe Wright among those who think Lawson will get on the field in 2014. The senior defensive tackle didn't know when, but he was confident it would happen. As Wright would attest, Lawson is a "freak athlete."
To put any ceiling on Lawson's potential, he said, would be foolish.
"I believe he’s a phenom. He’s a guy that can really be three-and-done, honestly," said Wright, referring to Lawson's potential to enter the NFL draft after his junior season. " ... Carl’s body was in excellent shape. His leg muscles and quad muscles are so strong, he’s not losing anything (by rehabbing). He’s a hard worker and I know he’ll bounce back pretty quick."
Last season, Lawson played in 14 games, but did not make any starts, serving as LaDarius Owens' backup at right end. He collected 20 total tackles (14 solo, seven assisted), with 7.5 for loss. He also had four sacks, which were second-most on the team behind Dee Ford's 10.5.
Before his injury, Lawson was expected to start at one of the two defensive end spots.