|Photo by Chris Parent/LSUSports.net|
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU has announced that Zach Mettenberger's playing career with the Tigers is officially over.
Mettenberger injured his left knee while unloading a 32-yard completion in the fourth quarter of No. 14 LSU's 31-27 victory over Arkansas last Friday, and LSU coach Les Miles confirmed the severity of the injury on Wednesday.
Shortly after Friday's game, Miles initially expressed hope that Mettenberger's injury did not involve any torn ligaments and that he'd be ready to return for a bowl game that the Tigers will likely play in January, depending on the bowl bid they accept this Sunday.
Instead, Mettenberger will require surgery and his rehabilitation will take place when he would have been preparing for next spring's NFL draft.
"We are very disappointed for Zach," Miles, who is on a recruiting trip, said in a written statement provided by LSU. "He's been a tremendous leader for our team and he's as a competitive a guy as I have ever been around. He's had a great impact on our program.
"I know Zach will work extremely hard to rehabilitate his knee and I don't anticipate this injury having any impact on what should be a great future in the NFL," Miles added.
Mettenberger had been widely projected as an early round draft choice. He passed for 3,082 yards and 22 touchdowns this season, getting within 266 yards of breaking Rohan Davey's 2001 LSU record for yards passing in a season.
Freshman backup Anthony Jennings, who led a game-winning, 99-yard touchdown drive against Arkansas, likely will start the bowl game.
Mettenberger is the only player in LSU history to throw for 2,500 or more yards in back-to-back seasons and his finished his career with a 19-6 record as a starter.