Wolfpack QB Mitchell '50-50' for Saturday's game

jgiglio@newsobserver.comOctober 8, 2013 

— Quarterback Brandon Mitchell is willing to play in pain, he already did in N.C. State’s season-opener, but he also wants to do what’s best for the team.

Mitchell, who has missed the past four games with a broken bone in left foot, said there’s a “50-50” chance he’ll play in Saturday’s home game against Syracuse, but ultimately coach Dave Doeren will decide.

“(Coach) doesn’t want to put me in a position where I have a setback,” Mitchell said. “If I’m still feeling good, without having any soreness or pain, then I’ll play on Saturday.”

Doeren said earlier Mitchell’s status is day-to-day and he won’t know if Mitchell can play until he’s able to evaluate Mitchell in practice.

Mitchell wore shoulder pads and a helmet but was in shorts at Tuesday’s practice while the rest of the team had on full pads. Mitchell said it felt great to get back on the field with teammates but he still hasn’t really tested his foot at full speed.

Mitchell, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, said he doesn’t want to come back until he’s able to run and pass.

“It’s no good for me to be in the game if I just stay in the pocket,” Mitchell said. “I have to be able to do both dimensions of the offense. That’s when we’re at our best when we can run it and throw it.”

Mitchell threw for 93 yards and ran for 19 yards and led the Wolfpack to a pair of touchdowns on the first two drives of the season in a 40-14 win over Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31.

After the third series, Mitchell went to the locker room. He came back out in the second half and was on crutches. He said Tuesday he suffered the foot injury on the first series of the game.

“Oh yeah, I knew it right away,” Mitchell said. “I kind of knew right then it was broken. I didn’t want to come out so I played the next two series.

“The third series, it was just too painful to keep playing, so I pulled myself out.”

Mitchell had surgery the day after the Louisiana Tech win and has been sidelined since. He got out of his walking boot Sunday.

He said the goal after surgery was to return for the Florida State game on Oct. 26. The Wolfpack has an open date after Saturday’s ACC game with the Orange and before the road trip to FSU.

Mitchell said the extra time is a factor in the decision to play against the Orange.

“If I can play Saturday and just kind of be sore after the game, then we have another week to be off,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell was one of several key players missing from the offense in a 28-13 loss at Wake Forest this past Saturday. Receiver Rashard Smith, who tweaked his right knee against Wake Forest, did not practice on Tuesday.

Running back Matt Dayes (ankle) and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) are expected to play against the Orange.

“The more people we have healthy, the better we’ll be,” receiver Bryan Underwood said. “We have a lot of guys who have big roles in this offense that are banged up. I’m just anxious to get everybody back.”

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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