A key player on Auburn’s defense is out indefinitely with an injury,Auburn Tigers coach Gus Malzahn said on Tuesday.
@Carl Lawson , who suffered a hip injury during a strong first half performance in the opening game vs. Louisville, has not played since then and Malzahn said he doesn’t know when the redshirt sophomore will be able to play again.
“Carl Lawson's injury is a little more serious than we first thought,” he said. “He’s going to be out for an extended period of time. I’m not ready to say exactly when that is.
“We’re hopeful we can get him back before this season is out, but I’ll keep you updated from time to time on his status.
“Obviously,he’s an impact player,” Malzahn said of the defender who missed the entire 2014 season after having knee surgery.
“It has been really tough on him, especially going through last season and having another (injury),” the coach said. “He’s a great competitor and he’s going to do everything in his power to get back on the field.”
With Lawson unavailable Malzahn said freshman Byron Cowart could play a larger role in the defense. He has worked at the buck position where Lawson plays as well as defensive end.
“He definitely could,” Malzahn said about the five-star recruit. “He did play better last week. You saw a bunch of young guys out there and I know Will (defensive coordinator Will Muschamp) has a better idea right now of what we have, what we don’t have, and what we have when Carl’s not out there. I think that’s probably the big thing.
“From a coach’s standpoint, when you’ve got an impact player and you realize that impact player may be out for a while, then you kind of take a different approach. That’s what Will has done. He’s good at that.
“He has a plan moving forward and he’s got three good games of information. You’re talking about a new defensive coordinator, a new defensive staff, playing some new guys. For three games now he’s got an idea and we’ll improve over there.”
Asked if Lawson will need surgery, the coach said, “Right now we’re hoping not. We’ll see. He’s going to be out for an extended period of time. It’s a little worse than we first thought, but we’re hoping to have him back. It’s not like the ACL injury, ‘Hey, he’s out for the season.’.We’re hoping to have him back. That’s best-case scenario. We’ll just see how things go and I’ll keep you updated from time to time his situation.
“He’s disappointed,” Malzahn said of Lawson.
He’s a great competitor. He’s a leader. He’s probably our defensive leader. Anytime you lose a guy like that, and he’s been through it--this is the second time--it’s tough on him.
“He’s worked extremely, extremely hard to get back. Then the first game he plays he gets another injury. He’s discouraged and I’m trying to just encourage him. He’ll work extremely hard to get back and he’ll do everything in his power to get back before the end of the year. We’ll just see where that goes.”