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As hinted in an OutKick story last week, the playing status of LSU All-American cornerback Derek Stingley Jr. for the rest of the season is up in the air.
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said Wednesday that Stingley, a junior who is expected to be a top five or 10 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, had surgery this week on an injured foot that has kept him out of the Tigers’ last two games.
“We’re going to look at it and play it by ear,” Orgeron said on the SEC teleconference. “It’s one of these injuries that was nagging, and he went to the doctor. We don’t know when he will be back or if he will be back. Obviously, if he would be back, we’d be happy. If not, we have to carry on.”
LSU (3-2, 1-1 SEC) plays at No. 16 Kentucky (5-0, 3-0) at 6:30 p.m. Saturday on the SEC Network.
Stingley, the No. 1 cornerback in the nation in 2019 out of Dunham High in Baton Rouge, helped lead the Tigers to the national championship in the 2019-20 season and was a consensus All-American as he led the SEC in interceptions with six and was fifth nationally. He started all 15 games and also finished No. 2 in the nation in passes defended with 21.
Health and injury issues sidelined him for three of LSU’s 10 games in 2020. He missed most of LSU’s preseason practices last August with the same foot injury, but played in LSU’s first three games this year. He then aggravated the foot injury at practice on Sept. 22 and missed LSU’s win at Mississippi State three days later and the loss to Auburn on Saturday.
“If it’s surgery, there’s a good chance (his return) may not happen,” Stingley’s father Derek Stingley Sr. said on the Jordy Culotta YouTube talk show on Sept. 27 before an appointment with a foot specialist. “We’ll know at the end of this week on what we have to do.”
OutKick contacted the elder Stingley on Oct. 1, but he did not answer when asked whether surgery had been recommended.
“I’m not giving out information right now,” he said. “We’re still deciding what to do.
“If he can come back, I think he will, knowing Derek,” Orgeron said. “Talking to him, he wants to come back with his team.”
Stingley would need to get his foot back to 100 percent for pre-draft workouts and the NFL Combine in February to maintain his lofty draft status for the NFL Draft, which will be held April 28-30.
“That’s a decision that a family has to make, and I think each individual is different,” Orgeron said.
Stingley released a statement to the media.
“I appreciate all of the support from LSU and the fans,” he said. “I’m doing all that I can to return to field as soon as possible. I want to finish out the season with my teammates, and I will do everything I can to get healthy so that I will be able to play again this year.”