Oregon's Thomas: I expect to play

BY foxsports • October 19, 2011

Oregon quarterback Darron Thomas, injured in last weekend's game against Arizona State, says he expects to play Saturday against Colorado even though there has been no official word about his status.

Thomas practiced Wednesday with the No. 9 Ducks, and afterward was asked if he could play.

''Expect to,'' he said.

Oregon's junior quarterback was hurt when an Arizona State player landed squarely on his legs in last weekend's 41-27 victory over the Sun Devils. After the game, he was seen wearing a brace on his left leg.

Ducks coach Chip Kelly does not discuss injuries as a policy.

If Thomas doesn't start against the Buffaloes (1-6, 0-3 Pac-12), the job will go to redshirt freshman Bryan Bennett.

Thomas has thrown for 17 touchdowns and run for two more this season for the Ducks (5-1, 3-0). Last season, he threw for 30 touchdowns and ran for five while directing the speedy spread-option that helped Oregon reach the BCS championship game and finish 12-1.

After Thomas was injured against the Sun Devils, Bennett stepped in and calmly led a drive that ended with De'Anthony Thomas' 3-yard scoring run to put the Ducks in the lead.

Bennett completed two of five passes for 22 yards, while running back Kenjon Barner was piling up yards on the ground.

''Bryan's ready to go if he needs to go,'' Thomas said. ''He can throw the ball as far as me, farther than me, harder than me.''

Running back LaMichael James also expressed a desire to play in Boulder on Saturday. But, like Thomas, it is uncertain if he'll go.

James, who dislocated his elbow on Oct. 6 against California, told reporters Tuesday he was awaiting a special brace. He plans on making the trip to Boulder and dressing for the game, but doesn't know yet if he'll play.

''I definitely could play,'' James said, ''It's one of those things - if they need me to play.''

James, who leads the nation with an average of 170.4 yards a game, ran for 239 yards and a touchdown before he was hurt in the fourth quarter of Oregon's 43-15 victory over the Golden Bears.

The Buffaloes (1-6, 0-3) are hurting, too. The team lost leading tackler Douglas Rippy to a season-ending knee injury in Saturday's loss at Washington. His cousin, top tailback Rodney Stewart, is out for up to a month with a sprained knee.

Colorado will be without senior receiver Kyle Cefalo (knee) Saturday against Oregon. Top receiver Paul Richardson (knee) and senior cornerbacks Brian Lockridge (ankle) and Travis Sandersfeld (leg) all remain out after getting hurt earlier this season.

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