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Wednesday September 26, 2012 Muschamp optimistic that LB Jelani Jenkins might be able to play against LSU

Updated: 2:14pm, September 26

Jelani Jenkins

Photo: Jelani Jenkins, second from left, might be ready to rejoin his teammates Oct. 6 against LSU.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Gators have been without redshirt junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins since early in the first quarter of their win at Texas A&M on Sept. 8.

That could change when No. 3-ranked LSU visits Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Oct. 6.

“We feel pretty optimistic about him,’’ Florida coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday.

Jenkins is scheduled to visit a specialist on Friday and have a pin removed from his surgically repaired right thumb. If Jenkins is able to return in time to play against LSU, Muschamp said it will be with a cast protecting Jenkins’ thumb.

“That goes back to pain level and comfort level of playing with a cast,’’ Muschamp said. “Right now, we feel that he should be able to go, but again, you never know until the guy looks at it. I don’t want to sit there and say he’s going right now. I’m not ready to say that.”

Jenkins resumed weight training and running last week. He has started 25 games in his career and finished third on the team with 75 tackles last season. He has five tackles – and one tackle for loss – in one game and part of a quarter this season.

“I certainly hope so,’’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said about the potential of Jenkins returning for LSU. “For us, he provides some real speed. I think the guy is a terrific blitzer, and he can certainly match-up tight end-wise to cover them when we get in our nickel package.

“Hopefully everything goes well with his checkup moving forward.”

Quinn said a linebacker or defensive back can play with a cast easier than a defensive lineman since they don’t have to use their hands on every single play like a lineman.

In other injury news, Muschamp said Trey Burton (back), Jordan Reed (head), Chaz Green (ankle) and Dominique Easley (knee) should all be ready for the LSU game.

He added that Cody Riggs (foot) and OL Matt Patchan (pectoral muscle) are probably out for a couple of more weeks.

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