Sooners freshman Ward sidelined due to spleen issues

The Sooners defensive line has already had a tough time, but it just got a little tougher.

Tough news for the Oklahoma defensive line, which is already inexperienced and thin.

Coach Bob Stoops said Monday freshman defensive end D.J. Ward has not been practicing, due to a spleen injury.

Ward has yet to suit up this August and Stoops said, "We're unsure where that will lead."

That's a rough break for the Sooners who don't have a lot of returning experience on the defensive line. Meanwhile, Ward just needs to get on the field. He was one of the top players in the state two seasons ago while at Lawton, Okla., High, but sat out last year after moving when his hardship was denied. Ward missed most of spring practice while the NCAA investigated his eligibility.

OU lost seniors David King, Jamarkus McFarland, Casey Walker and R.J. Washington from last year's team on the defensive line. That leaves Chuka Ndulue and Jordan Phillips as the only returnees on the defensive line.

Oklahoma needs all the bodies it can get on the defensive line. The Sooners need Ward to return as soon as possible.

Follow Andrew Gilman on twitter: @andrewgilmanOK

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