For the last two months, junior outside linebacker Arden Key has been playing with a broken pinky finger on his right hand. Key underwent surgery on Monday to repair the finger, and he posted via Snapchat that the surgery was a success.
On Sunday, Key posted a picture of his crooked pinky finger on Snapchat stating that he would be getting surgery. However, Key is expected to recover by the time of the bowl game in either late December or early January, as reported in The Advocate.
LSU spokesman Michael Bonnette said that the school cannot provide further details on his surgery.
While the All-American is still projected to go high in this year’s NFL Draft, it wasn’t the way Key was expected to go out.
Key missed the Tigers’ final two regular season games with a knee injury that he sustained against Arkansas and also missed the first two games of the season recovering from shoulder surgery in May.
The 6-foot-6, 250-pound edge rusher’s transition back into the lineup was slow, as he put on a significant amount of weight in the offseason. Key shed about 15 pounds before he was starting to look the like 2016 version of himself.
In the eight games that Key did play with the Tigers, he recorded five sacks and 33 total tackles while dealing with the broken pinky and knee injury.
“[What] Arden went through — I’m very proud of him,” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said. “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 — 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,” Orgeron said.
Key finally bounced back into game shape against Ole Miss where he recorded two sacks. The following game against Alabama, Key continued to rise as he recorded eight tackles, .5 sack and two quarterback hurries.
Evident in pictures, Key’s right hand was wrapped up for the first time on Oct. 14 against Auburn. Eventually, Key wore a cast binding his pinky finger and ring finger against Alabama, where he played arguably his most dominant of the season.
Key was completely absent for the team’s regular season finale against Texas A&M. He did not walk down the Tiger Walk and was not seen on the sidelines which raised questions. At the press conference following the win, Orgeron said that Key’s status is ‘questionable.’
Key is four sacks shy of tying LSU’s all-time record of 25. In 2016, Key set a school-record with 12 sacks in a season.
“Other people would think, ‘well, I don’t know, he’s getting that shoulder operated, he’s going in,’” Orgeron said. “That was not the case. That was not his family. That was not his mindset. I think Arden felt that he could play in the heavier weight. It wasn’t the right thing and so he lost weight. And now he’s playing some of his best football. So I’m proud of him. LSU has given him the tools to go out and be successful for life on and off the field.”