It’s only been three months since Auburn’s Carl Lawson had surgery to rebuild a torn ACL, which he suffered during spring practice, and the defensive end already appears to be ahead of schedule with his rehabilitation.
Lawson’s early progress has been promising enough that a couple of his teammates believes he can return to the field this fall.
“I don’t know the timetable on it, but I know he’s doing good, because we were in rehab together all summer, I know he works hard,” defensive end LaDarius Owens told Al.com. “He’s trying to come back as soon as he can.”
The normal timetable for an athlete to return from an ACL tear is within six to nine months after surgery. Even if Lawson is ahead of schedule, the earliest Auburn should expect him to return is in November as the team prepares for its stretch run in SEC play. Once Lawson is back on field, it’s unlikely he’ll be the same player he was during a promising freshman campaign when he finished second on team with four sacks. It usually takes a full year before an athlete has full range of motion and confidence in the injured knee.
Despite these concerns, Lawson is impressing those who have seen him in recent weeks.
“He looked good,” linebacker Kris Frost said. “I saw him moving around, a lot, actually. I’m really confident about him being able to come back. I’m not sure when, but you know, whenever the time is right, we’re going to be ready for him.”
Auburn’s first day of spring practice in pads came with some injury news. Auburn defensive end LaDarius Owens will be sidelined for the remainder of the spring due to an undisclosed injury. Al.com also reports that linebacker Anthony Swain is not practicing with the team, but head coach Gus Malzahn is not shedding any light on the reason.
Owens has been seen getting around with a boot on his foot, so the injury is likely to be related to that, but Malzahn has not confirmed the injury status. Owens became a starter on Auburn’s defensive line last season, making his first start against Washington State. He recorded 28 tackles, with 4.5 for a loss. In the BCS Championship Game against Florida State Owens recorded two tackles and was credited with half a sack on Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. Owens also played for the Tigers in 2012, although in a reserve role. He may be missing the remainder of the spring, but it would seem his experience to this point will serve him well and allow him to plug right back in when he is back at full strength. Owens redshirted in 2010 and appeared in six game sin 2011 as well. Owens is expected back for the fall.
The status for Swain remains a mystery for now. Swain was a backup linebacker last season and played mostly on special teams in 2012. He may be most commonly known for being suspected of faking an injury against Arkansas in 2013. Malzahn denied any faking of injuries at the time.