Kyle Flood said Sunday that Scarlet Knights' leading rusher Paul James suffered a leg injury against the Razorbacks that will keep him out for "a few weeks" -- and force him to miss what could be the team's biggest game of the season.
"He will not be back this week or against Louisville," Flood said, per the Star-Ledger. The Scarlet Knights will play the No. 7 Cardinals in a Thursday night showdown Oct. 10 in Louisville, with first place in the American Athletic Conference likely at stake.
James will also miss the Scarlet Knights' Oct. 5 trip to SMU for the program's only conference game against the Mustangs. (SMU is new to the former Big East in 2013, and Rutgers leaves for the Big Ten next season.) Rutgers has a bye week this Saturday.
The good news for Rutgers is that they have an experienced, talented backup in Savon Huggins, the former New Jersey five-star. The bad news is that James, a former walk-on, didn't win the starting job over Huggins by accident; through the Scarlet Knights' first four games, James has averaged 143 yards rushing per game, the third-best total in the country behind only Washington's Bishop Sankey and FBS leader Melvin Gordon or Wisconsin.
The worse news is that Flood wouldn't guarantee that James would return after the SMU and Louisville games.
"There's a chance anything can happen," Flood said, when asked if the injury could threaten James's season. "But I think Paul will be back this season."
The sooner the better, obviously -- but if Flood's team comes back from Louisville with a loss, will it be soon enough?