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Top NFL Draft Prospect Likely To Miss Rookie Season

LSU football helmets are seen sitting alone.

BATON ROUGE, LOUISIANA - OCTOBER 12: LSU helmets are seen on the field prior to the game against the Florida Gators at Tiger Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Marianna Massey/Getty Images)

One of the purposes of the NFL scouting combine is for teams to have the opportunity to get a full medical evaluation on draft prospects.

This year, the medical screening process found that LSU linebacker Damone Clark was suffering from a herniated disk in his neck. According to

Former LSU LB Damone Clark is undergoing spinal fusion surgery today after an MRI at the combine revealed a herniated disk, per sources.

One of the top linebackers in this year’s NFL Draft, Clark most likely will miss his rookie season, but is expected to make a full recovery.

— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) March 24, 2022

">NFL Network's Tom Pelissero, Clark is having spinal fusion surgery today and could miss his entire rookie season. Thankfully, it doesn't sound like the injury is career-threatening though. "One of the top linebackers in this year’s NFL Draft, Clark most likely will miss his rookie season, but is expected to make a full recovery," Pelissero wrote.

A first-team All-SEC and Sporting News second team All-American in 2021, Clark posted a team-high 135 tackles last season, including 15.5 for loss. He also recorded 5.5 sacks.

NFL.com's Lance Zierlein rated Clark a 6.32 on his prospect grading scale, saying the 6-foot-2 1/2, 239-pounder has the chance to "eventually be [a] plus starter."

"Size, speed and production. He's got it and the rest of it can be coached," an NFC pro personnel director told Zierlein.

Thankfully for Clark, this medical issue was caught in time. Hopefully he can make a full recovery and continue his playing career.