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Monday, October 21, 2013

While immediate future is unknown, Rutgers' Kyle Flood expects Paul James back in 2013

Paul James should play again this season but not necessarily Nov. 2 against Temple, head coach Kyle Flood said Monday. (AP photo)

By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

PISCATAWAY — Head coach Kyle Flood said Monday that he is "confident" running back Paul James will be back at some point this season.

Rutgers' team doctors re-evaluated James late last week and ruled him out of Saturday's game against Houston. Flood said James "might" be back next week against Temple, but his admission that he expects James to play again in 2013 is a clearer step.

James has missed Rutgers' last three games with a lower-leg injury. The Scarlet Knights managed without him for two weeks but managed only 60 yards between their two backs Oct. 10 at Louisville.

Full breakdown of Rutgers' offense against Louisville

James, a sophomore, previously dealt with ankle and hip flexor issues. His return could boost a running game that ranks 84th nationally in yards per game. 

Flood had targeted this week's game against Houston as a possible return date, but Rutgers' Nov. 2 meeting with Temple becomes the next earliest option. James last met with the media with crutches and without a walking boot.

James was second in the nation in rushing yards before he left a Sept. 21 game with Arkansas in the fourth quarter. He averaged 3 yards more after contact than Rutgers' next option. 

It has meant an increased workload for junior Gary Nova, who is averaging 34.5 pass attempts in James' absence. That includes a three-overtime win Oct. 5 at SMU.

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