Oregon Ducks running back De'Anthony Thomas eager to return to action

Oregon Ducks running back De'Anthony Thomas eager to return to action
October 14, 2013, 10:15 pm
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Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas said his right ankle remains sore but he hopes to return to action soon.

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports)

EUGENE – The most unpopular right ankle in the state continued to bother Oregon running back De’Anthony Thomas who on Monday said it remained sore 16 days after he injured himself during the first quarter of the team’s win over California on Sept. 28.

Unpopular because the sprained ankle has caused all who care to miss out on the dynamic play-making skills of one of the most electric players in the country for essentially the past three games. He injured it on the opening kickoff against California while making a cut he had made countless times before.

Some speculated Thomas would return against Washington on Saturday. But Thomas said he wasn't even close to ready to play.

“I wasn’t close at all,” Thomas said. “At all.”

Oregon’s policy on not discussing injuries creates mysteries each week and some are worth trying to solve even if it annoys the injured player.

“People always want to talk about me and how I’m feeling,” Thomas said. “I just feel like people just gotta worry about they self. Let me live my life.”

Eh, that would be  boring.

Thomas said he is working to get the ankle ready as soon as possible but doesn’t want to risk re-injuring himself by rushing back too soon.

For a player who relies on quick cutting ability, running on a sore ankle is both uncomfortable and troubling. Each cut could re-aggravate the injury.

But keeping teams guessing can be fun. It was highly likely that Washington spent practice time preparing for Thomas, who suited up and warmed up but did not play.

Washington State, Oregon’s opponent Saturday night at Autzen Stadium, will likely prepare for Thomas’ return, as well.

But will Thomas play?

“Hopefully, yes,” he said.

The good news is that Thomas was without a walking boot on Monday and appeared to be walking normally. He said his ankle remained sore but was getting better.

“I feel better just being out of a boot and having two shoes on,” he said.

He’s chalking up missing games as a “learning experience” and not something he’s allowing to frustrate him.

Oregon has done well without him, blowing out California, Colorado and No. 20 Washington. Leading the running game has been Thomas’ understudies, sophomore Byron Marshall and freshman Thomas Tyner.

Thomas said he’s proud of both but looks forward to getting back into the mix.

The way things stand now, Thomas’ Heisman Trophy buzz is pretty much gone. But he said it’s great to see the attention being thrown in the direction of Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota.

“It’s great to have an Oregon player getting that publicity,” he said.

But he stopped way short of saying Mariota is the best player in the country.

“Yes,” he said, then paused. “Besides myself. But yes, he’s the best quarterback in the country. You could say that.”