Posted by Jerry Hinnen
Oregon proved against Arizona State -- much as it's proved over the entire course of Chip Kelly's plug-and-play reign -- that it probably doesn't need Darron Thomas and LaMichael James to defeat 1-6 Colorado this Saturday. But there's also little question that Kelly and the Ducks would like to have Thomas and James in uniform and on the field, just in case.
And to hear Thomas and James tell it, that's exactly what will happen. Thomas said Wednesday that despite his knee injury against the Sun Devils and an earlier report that said backup Bryan Bennett had received the starter's reps in Duck practice during the week, he "expects" to be the No. 1 QB against the Buffs. "Nah, I've been taking them," Thomas said of the practice snaps mentioned in the earlier report.
Thomas added that he wouldn't need doctor's clearance to play against Colorado, since he had never been "uncleared" by doctors in the first place. He was spotted by CBSSports.com Oregon RapidReporter Chris Hansen walking without a knee brace or any noticeable limp after Tuesday's practice.
Thomas's confidence is only more good news for the Ducks after James declared Tuesday that he, too, would be available for the game in Boulder--though having not practiced yet and still without the full range of motion in his dislocated elbow, he was less emphatic than Thomas.
“I’ve (had) enough progress the doctors are fine with me playing ... I definitely could play,” he said. “It’s one of those things if they need me to play.”
With both players nursing their injuries against a team Vegas has pegged as a 32.5-point underdog, don't expect either Thomas or James to get too much burn. And by James's own admission, a fast start for the Ducks would likely see him miss the game entirely.
But it has to be reassuring for Kelly and the Ducks to know that in the event of an emergency, both their stars will be on hand to help.
For more on the Oregon-Colorado matchup, check out our comprehensive pregame page.