Alabama will be without its top tight end for the rest of the regular season.
Miller Forristall, a 6-foot-5, 242-pound redshirt junior from Cartersville, Georgia, injured his throat during last Saturday night's 48-7 win over Arkansas inside Bryant-Denny Stadium. He had two receptions for 11 yards against the Razorbacks, with each of them coming on Alabama's opening possession.
"The doctors looked at him, and he went back in the game and played," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said Wednesday. "We didn't think it was really a serious injury, but he had some discomfort after that, so we sort of further examined him. He does have an injury to his voice box that required surgery that will probably keep him out for six weeks or so.
"This is an area where you're talking about affecting your breathing and affecting your voice, so it's pretty important that we make sure we take care of him the right way."
The second-ranked Tide (8-0, 5-0 Southeastern Conference) held the middle of their three practices this week on Wednesday afternoon. They will have this weekend off before their showdown against top-ranked LSU (8-0, 4-0) the following Saturday in Tuscaloosa.
Starting quarterback Tua Tagovaolia, who is recovering from surgery on a high-ankle sprain that occurred in the Oct. 19 win over Tennessee, practiced for a portion of Wednesday's workout.
"Tua took some snaps today in practice but was not in any team situations," Saban said. "Tua is going to be a game-day decision, and there is nothing really else I can say about it. I can tell you that his mentality has been really good in terms of how he's working and how he's responding."
Forristall's situation came up Monday, said Saban, who added that it was really unexpected.
After playing in all 15 games last season without a catch, Forristall has 12 receptions this year for 131 yards and three touchdowns. The most recent of his scores was from 6 yards out in the third quarter against Tennessee, which gave the Tide some breathing room at 28-13 in their eventual 35-13 victory.
Alabama's only other tight ends with catches this season are Major Tennison (three for 21 yards) and former walk-on Giles Amos (one for 5).
"The guys that we have are the guys that we have," Saban said. "They've all played. We've played three or four guys at that position, and the young guys are making progress. Major Tennison has played, and (freshman) Jahleel (Billingsley) is growing into a guy who played pretty decently in the last game, so it will be more of an opportunity for those guys."
Saban turns 68 on Thursday and was asked Wednesday night after practice whether he had any birthday plans.
"It's going to be whatever Mrs. Terry tells me to do, which is usually how it is when I get time off," Saban said. "Around here, I get to tell people what to do, but when we're off, I get told what to do, and I'm OK with that."