BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU outside linebacker Arden Key’s junior season is getting bookended by a second surgical procedure.
Key, who missed the first two games of the year due to offseason shoulder surgery, had surgery to repair a broken right pinky on Monday. Key posted a grisly looking photo of his pre-operational pinky on social media late Sunday night. A source familiar with the situation said the surgery is not season-ending, leaving open the possibility of Key playing in LSU’s bowl game.
— Hannah Martin (@hmartin_) November 27, 2017
Key missed LSU’s last two games with an unrelated knee injury. When asked why Key wasn’t present at LSU’s game against Texas A&M, LSU coach Ed Orgeron smiled and gave his now-stock answer to any injury question, saying Key was “questionable.”
When asked if Key would be able to play in the bowl game, Orgeron also responded with “questionable.”
The LSU source confirmed that Key played four games with the broken pinky, beginning with LSU’s 27-23 win over Auburn on Oct. 14. Coincidentally, that game also marked Key’s return to his dominant 2016 form after a slow start to the season.
In the four games he played with his broken pinky taped to his ring finger, Key piled up 23 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble and 6 quarterback hurries.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound Key is expected to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, though he has not officially declared for it. Last week, Orgeron praised Key for making it through adversity this year without giving specific details.
“I’m very proud of him,” Orgeron said at his Monday press conference. “As you know, I recruited Arden. I’m close to him. I’m close to his parents. So Arden is like family to me, like all the guys. But he had some personal problems that went through. We gave him some help, got it fixed and I was proud of him.
“Then he comes back and he’s about ready to go and then he has to get a shoulder operation. He says, ‘Coach, I am going to get that shoulder fixed, I’m going to come back.’ And his momma guaranteed me we’re going to have a great season for the LSU Tigers.
“And other people would think, well, I don’t know, he’s getting that shoulder operated, he’s [not going to play this year] — and that was not the case. That was not his family. That was not his mindset.”
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