Suspension lifted, Florida DT Thomas to play vs. LSU

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Suspended defensive tackle Marcus Thomas has been reinstated and will play Saturday when No. 5 Florida hosts ninth-ranked LSU.

Thomas, who has three sacks, was suspended indefinitely last month for a second violation of the school's substance-abuse policy. Thomas appealed the suspension, saying both failed drug tests were the result of one night of marijuana use this summer.

A committee consisting of university personnel heard Thomas' appeal and recommended to amend his sanctions, Florida coach Urban Meyer said in a statement Thursday. Meyer said the recommendation was made independently by the committee and then approved by athletic director Jeremy Foley and school president Bernie Machen.

"Marcus still has some work ahead of him, but he has been granted the opportunity to play in the LSU game," Meyer said. "Beyond that, he will continue to have a set of responsibilities and obligations for which he will be held accountable."

After practice Thursday, Meyer said he was not sure if Thomas was ready to step right in after missing nearly three weeks of practice. But his return could help the Gators (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) against the Tigers (4-1, 1-1).

Thomas, a three-year starter who has 138 career tackles and 13 sacks, had been working out by himself before practice this week.

"I think he's a very good football player," Meyer said. "He's a good chemistry guy on the team. He's invested a lot into this program. Obviously, having him in here is going to help, but we also played pretty good without him. It's important. Is it the catchall? Absolutely not. We proved that the last couple weeks."

In other Gators news, ESPN.com's Joe Schad reported Thursday that starting running back DeShawn Wynn will miss the matchup against LSU, and wide receiver Percy Harvin, who had an ankle injury, was cleared to play against the Tigers.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.