De'Anthony Thomas: Injury Update
EUGENE – Oregon junior running back De’Anthony Thomas appeared before the media Tuesday in full gear but wearing a walking boot on his right foot.
A strange sight, in deed, and one that indicated Thomas did some practice work but isn’t quite healthy after spraining his ankle while returning the opening kick off during Saturday’s 55-16 win over California at Autzen Stadium.
So what’s Thomas’ status for Saturday’s sure blowout victory at Colorado: He’s out, in all likelihood.
Thomas wouldn’t say it. Coach Mark Helfrich wouldn’t declare it. Running backs coach Gary Campbell danced around it.
“I don’t know,” he said. “That’s a question for the trainers and the doctors. If he doesn’t, we’re prepared to go without him.”
But that statement came after Campbell said he would hope to have Thomas ready for this week but "obviously that's not gonna happen."
Later a source said that there is very little chance Thomas would be used at Colorado.
And why would he be?
The Ducks demolished Cal with Thomas only contributing a kick off return. Oregon is a 38 ½-point favorite at Colorado.
Also, running backs Byron Marshall and Thomas Tyner are more than capable of carrying the load against the Buffaloes (2-1, 0-1).
Marshall, a sophomore, rushed for 130 yards and two touchdowns on Saturday. Tyner, a freshman, chipped in 92 and a score.
Oregon offensive coordinator Scott Frost said the Saturday’s game plan did not change when Thomas went down.
“If we have anything special in for De’Anthony, obviously we won’t go to that,” Frost said. “We’re not going to change what we’re doing. Byron can step in and did a great job. (Tyner) is coming along.”
Marshall is more of a proven commodity, having played last season as a freshman.
“Byron has always been a great back and it’s great to see him out there, going out there competing, just having fun,” Thomas said.
Tyner is somewhat of a wild card because he has yet to play when it matters. But when he has played – wow!
Tyner has 174 yards rushing on 25 carries for an average of a 6.9 average yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota said Tyner’s knowledge of the offense has increased from a player needing instruction as to where to lineup to guy comfortable with his assignments most of the time.
“It’s great to see because you have another dependable guy,” Mariota said. “Each game and each practice you kind of see Thomas grow…he’s going to be a special player.”
The only real negative so far was Tyner’s fumble on Saturday. But hey, it was pouring rain and Marshall fumbled twice, as well. Cal fumbled five times.
“(Tyner) has to handle the ball a little bit better,” Helfrich said. “Part of that is the conditions and part of that is how we secure the ball. But overall, I’m encouraged.”
Losing Thomas for a week would give Tyner more game experience to build upon and further strengthen the Ducks’ backfield trifecta.
Thomas once again appeared amazed that he injured himself doing what he’s done all his life – cutting.
“I feel like that was an easy cut,” he said. “I’ve been making those cuts all my life.”
Fortunately the injury isn’t serious. Oregon will need him with No. 15 Washington, No. 5 Stanford and No. 12 UCLA coming up. But Thomas will probably need a little time to rest up.
“He’s walking around on it a little bit,” Campbell said. “We’re just hoping that everyday it gets a little bit better…He’s been in good spirits. He’s coming along slowly.”