The "as if Oregon needed another weapon" lead-in is so obvious in a story like this it ought to be avoided, but Oregon has so many weapons it's worrying to think what they might do with them if we go with a different one, so: As if Oregon needed another weapon, Kenjon Barner is back to full strength :
Nearly a month [after his injury vs. Washington State ], after Barner took and passed the required post-concussion tests, he is expected to play again for the first time since the injury when No. 1-ranked Oregon meets Washington in a 12:30 p.m. game, Saturday in Autzen Stadium ...Not that the Huskies -- blitzed 41-0 by Stanford in Seattle just last week -- had much hope of escaping Autzen with a victory in the first place, but having a healthy Barner at Chip Kelly 's disposal clearly won't help matters. All Barner has done this season in his limited time behind LaMichael James is rush for 147 yards on just 14 carries against New Mexico , return a punt for a touchdown against Tennessee , average better than 108 all-purpose yards in his six games and 11.4 yards per touch.
Barner said when he steps between the lines, he will play hard, fast and not spend a nano-second worried about the possibility of injury.
“You can’t think about that come gametime,” he said. “If you’re thinking about that, that’s all you’re going to be focused on. And that would affect the way I would play.”
But none of that honestly matters much for Washington, who was always going to be Duck roadkill. The bigger story of Barner's return -- and his shaking off the rust he may claim not to have, but likely does, given that he admits to being "nervous" about playing again -- is what it means down the road for the Ducks' tests against Arizona and at Cal and Oregon State .
And what it means is that the chances of Oregon being thrown off stride, say, by a James' injury or an off-night for a slot receiver or Kelly not being able to use that one play where he really needs Barner -- and losing some place between here and Glendale -- are worse than ever.