NCAA Football: SEC Championship-Georgia vs Louisiana State
Jason Getz / USA TODAY Sports

Damone Clark, one of the top-rated linebackers in the 2022 NFL Draft, is undergoing spinal fusion surgery after an MRI taken during the NFL combine revealed a herniated disk, according to NFL Network's Tom Pelissero. While the surgery is expected to keep him out for his entire rookie season, Clark is expected to make a full recovery. 

Clark is the seventh-best linebacker and 90th best players in CBS Sports' NFL Draft prospect rankings. During his four seasons at LSU, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Baton Rogue native racked up 249 tackles (23.5 for loss) and 10 sacks while helping the Tigers capture the 2019 national championship. A second-team All-American last fall, Clark was a Dick Butkus Award finalist after recording 135 tackles (15.5 for loss), 5.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and an interception. He graded from LSU in December with a degree in sports administration. 

Clark put up solid numbers at the combine. He ran the 40-yard-dash in 4.57 seconds, had a 36.5" vertical jump and a 10'7" broad jump. 

While the surgery will surely impact his draft stock, there's still a good chance that Clark will hear his name called at some point during the draft, which will begin on April 28. Notable players who were drafted despite dealing with an injury that kept them sideline for their rookie seasons included former NFL running back Willis McGahee (2003) and linebacker Jaylon Smith (2016).