Doeren: 'There's hope' Mitchell can play next week
North Carolina State coach Dave Doeren said Monday "there's hope" injured starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell could be ready to play next week against Syracuse.
Mitchell played three series in the opening win against Louisiana Tech before leaving with a broken bone in his left foot, which required surgery. Doeren said doctors recently told the Arkansas graduate transfer that he no longer needs crutches and that Mitchell is doing conditioning work in a swimming pool.
"His last X-ray showed a lot of healing," Doeren said at his weekly news conference. "... This is a big week for him being off the crutches and getting weight-bearing again. There's hope for next week."
Mitchell, who beat out Colorado State transfer Pete Thomas for the starting job during training camp, directed the Wolfpack to touchdowns on the first two possessions before leaving with the injury. Doeren said after that Aug. 31 game that Mitchell — who completed all three of his passes for 93 yards — could miss 4-6 weeks.
Thomas will make his fourth straight start Saturday at Wake Forest. He's thrown five touchdown passes with one interception while running Doeren's new no-huddle offense. He's also run for two scores.
N.C. State (3-1, 0-1 Atlantic Coast conference) has a bye after the Syracuse game, but Doeren sounded eager to get Mitchell back on the field as soon as possible.
"For him, he needs to play football," Doeren said. "He's played 5 minutes of football. He needs reps."
For the Wake Forest game, N.C. State didn't list senior offensive tackle Rob Crisp and senior defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop on its two-deep depth chart. Crisp has missed the past two games with a concussion, while Cato-Bishop missed the weekend win against Central Michigan with an ankle injury suffered against No. 3 Clemson on Sept. 19.
Doeren said the two starters were still awaiting clearance to return to practice.
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