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Sunday, September 21, 2014

Rutgers' Paul James out for the season with torn ACL

(AP photo)
By Tyler Barto
Twitter: @Tyler_Barto

Kyle Flood delivered the news Sunday that most at Rutgers feared: star running back Paul James will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

James, arguably Rutgers' most important offensive piece, will have missed at least 12 games in the last two seasons. He had rushed for a team-high 363 yards and five touchdowns this season.

"Any player in this position is always disappointed initially," Flood said in his day-after teleconference. "You work all year for 12 days, and when you have some of them taken away because of injury it's always disappointing. P.J.'s a competitor. He'll be back."

James left Saturday's game in the second quarter with a right leg injury. He left the field on crutches with the help of a team trainer.

James finished with seven rushes for 96 yards and a touchdown.

A lengthy injury history has trailed him. James missed four games with a right lower-leg injury he suffered nearly a year to the day. He dealt with ankle and hip-flexor issues in 2012 and missed a chunk of his senior season in high school.

"This is something every team around the country is dealing with," Flood said. "You don't know when you'll have to deal with it. You don't know how many weeks you'll have to deal with it. You've got to have depth. There's going to be attrition in every football season."

In James's place, Justin Goodwin and Desmon Peoples will see their roles spike, and true freshmen Josh Hicks and Rob Martin could earn more playing time.

Goodwin and Peoples combined for 186 yards and a touchdown on 45 carries in Saturday's victory at Navy. Still, it's doubtful either will replicate James's gift for yards after contact.

"We have one less guy in the rotation, someone who's made a lot of big plays in the running game," Flood said. "Paul's not going to be an easy guy to replace. He's a very good football player."

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