Auburn defensive end Carl Lawson practiced for the first time on Tuesday since he sustained a hip injury in the first half of Auburn’s opening game. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn has not ruled out Lawson suiting up for the Tigers this Saturday, but the sophomore is easing himself back into the practice routine.
“He [Lawson] did have limited practice yesterday,” Malzahn said Wednesday on the SEC teleconference. “When he was out there, he did fine.”
After Lawson was initially injured there was uncertainty about whether he could return this season, but the healing process has gone well. Lawson will add another pass rusher to an Auburn defense that desperately needs his production. His impact on the team, however, goes further than statistics.
“Just the leadership alone and having his presence once he gets back will be huge,” Malzahn said. “He’s our defensive leader and one of our team leaders, so when we get him back, that will be a lift for defense.”
Lawson has traveled with the team to its past two games, a 30-27 win over Kentucky and last week’s four-overtime loss to Arkansas. Starting with Ole Miss on Saturday, Auburn has four of its last five games against conference opponents. The Tigers need two wins to become bowl eligible, but they won’t rush Lawson back even with critical games looming.
“When he [Lawson] plays he’ll be 100 percent ready to go,” Malzahn said.