Reading tea leaves on James and Thomas

October, 27, 2011
10/27/11
8:00
PM ET
Will they or won't they? Or will one and not the other? Or will both sit?

Just like Oregon's visit to Colorado last week, we probably won't know if Ducks QB Darron Thomas (knee) or running back LaMichael James (elbow) will play until shortly before game time against Washington State. Dr. Ken Goe -- KISS wrote a song about him, you might recall -- is projecting that Thomas will not only play, but start, and that James is more iffy.
[Thomas] was wearing a brace on the injured left knee that kept him out of last week's game at Colorado. But I expect him to start Saturday when No. 7 Oregon (6-1, 4-0) plays Washington State (3-4, 1-3) at noon in Autzen (Root).

I'm not as sure about LaMichael James (right elbow). James walked out of practice carrying an elbow brace.

Goe also notes that Chip Kelly had nothing new on the status of suspended cornerback Cliff Harris. Rob Moseley decided to poll readers on what they thought about James' and Thomas' status. And their thoughts were all over the place. Moseley's take falls in line with Goe's:
Subjectively, I'm thinking Thomas is about 85 percent likely to play, James is closer to 50-50.

Thomas has told reporters that he feels 100 percent and that he expects to start. You can watch him say that here.

All of this intrigue is probably not obsessing Washington State, which has its own issues, starting with the likelihood that QB Jeff Tuel is done for the season due to a calf injury -- not his re-injured clavicle -- which means Marshall Lobbestael is back as the starter. He played well filling in for Tuel, but losing their starting QB for the season is a blow to a team that's desperate for success.

All of this probably doesn't change much. Oregon is favored by five touchdowns for a reason. But Ducks fans surely would like to see all hands on board -- Thomas, James and several other injured players -- for the early November schedule, which features road games at Washington (Nov. 5) and Stanford (Nov. 12), which will determine who wins the first Pac-12 North Division crown.

Ted Miller | email

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