Could Dwayne Thomas be back for spring ball?

After tearing his ACL earlier this season, sophomore defensive back Dwayne Thomas has been steadily rehabbing. His head coach hinted Monday that Thomas may return in time for spring practices.

The LSU secondary has undergone major improvements during the course of the 2014 season in spite of losing one of its most productive players.

Redshirt sophomore Dwayne Thomas, the Tigers’ nickel back and an equally capable reserve at cornerback and safety, suffered a torn ACL in the first half of the New Mexico State game on Sept. 27.

Prior to that the New Orleans native had been on a tear to start his second full season in the defensive rotation.

Thomas, who notched four tackles for loss, three sacks and two forced fumbles as a redshirt freshman in 2013, was dynamite in an increased role this fall. Before his injury the O.P. Walker product had registered 24 tackles (among the team’s highest totals at the time), 2.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception and two quarterback hurries.

On Monday LSU coach Les Miles made sure No. 13 wasn’t a forgotten man, updating Thomas’ progress during his weekly press luncheon.

“He’s constantly around the facility,” Miles said with a smile. “He’s a great teammate. We can hardly wait to get him back, to be honest. He’ll be fine.”

The remainder of Miles’ comments were very encouraging when it comes to Thomas returning, and maybe sooner than expected.

“He’s working hard. His rehabilitation is coming along very nicely,” explained Miles. “Hope to have him back for the spring. I don’t know if that’s possible, but as hard as he’s working, we would think that’s likely.”

In Thomas’ stead the past six games-plus, starting free safety Jalen Mills has rotated into the box as LSU’s nickel back while true freshman Jamal Adams has been the Tigers’ primary dime back.

With Mills a potential early entrant into the NFL Draft, and the possibility of losing Jalen Collins (Draft) and Rashard Robinson (disciplinary) from the defensive backfield, Thomas will be counted on in a major way in 2015.

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