RALEIGH — N.C. State quarterback Brandon Mitchell impressed coach Dave Doeren in practice on Thursday.
Mitchell, who has missed the past four games with a broken foot, worked out pain-free on Thursday and will be a game-time decision for Saturdays home game against Syracuse.
He got better all week, Doeren said. Weve made a lot of progress and well see what the next 48 hours bring us.
Mitchell, a graduate transfer from Arkansas, won the starting job in August and led the Wolfpack offense to touchdowns on the first two drives of the season in a 40-14 win against Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31.
Mitchell broke a bone in his left foot in the first half of the opener and was sidelined until he returned to practice Sunday. Doeren said Mitchell ran for about 20 to 25 minutes on Thursday without pain.
His mobility (Thursday) was the best weve seen so far, Doeren said. Hes close. Ive got to see him on gameday.
N.C. State (3-2, 0-2 ACC) might also get receiver Rashard Smith back for Saturdays game with the Orange (2-3, 0-1). Smith sprained his right knee on a kickoff return in last Saturdays 28-13 loss at Wake Forest.
Smith, a senior, has caught 21 passes for 242 yards and rushed for 105 yards in four and half games this season. He also has a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown.
Smith has been limited in practice this week but Doeren said theres a possibility Smith will play on Saturday.
He feels a lot better, Doeren said. Its all about the swelling. Structurally, hes great.
The news was not as good for senior safety Jarvis Byrd, who suffered a leg injury after an illegal block by a Wake Forest player in the second quarter of last weeks game. Byrd, who has already had two major knee injuries in his career, is out for Saturdays game and Doeren said Byrd will have to see a specialist.
Running back Matt Dayes (ankle) and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling (hamstring) were not on Thursdays injury report. Doeren said earlier in the week he expected both to play against the Orange.
Left tackle Rob Crisp will miss his fourth straight game with concussion issues and defensive end Darryl Cato-Bishop (ankle) will miss his third straight game.
Mitchells return would be a boost for the Wolfpacks offense, which has averaged 13.5 points in two ACC games.
Mitchell completed 3 of 3 passes for 93 yards and ran for 19 yards in one quarter against Louisiana Tech.
Junior Pete Thomas would make his fifth straight start at quarterback if Mitchell cant play.