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Injuries taking toll on Wolfpack offense

Running back Matt Dayes and receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling are expected to play against Syracuse on Saturday, N.C. State coach Dave Doeren said.

There's hope that quarterback Brandon Mitchell will return against the Orange, too, but Doeren won't know until Mitchell gets back on the practice field this week.

Doeren ran through the list of injuries on Monday in his weekly press conference and offered some hope that the Wolfpack will get some major parts back for Saturday's home game.

Mitchell, who has missed the past four games with a broken bone his left foot, worked out on Sunday for the first time since he suffered the injury in the first half of the first game of the season on Aug. 31.

Doeren said Mitchell looked good throwing passes but he didn't sprint or make cuts. He said Mitchell's status will be "day-to-day," and he hopes to know more as the week progresses. He also said he would be cautious with the quarterback.

"I'm not going to rush it," Doeren said. "To put him out there too early is not in anyone's best interest. I think you have to make sure his health is where it needs to be.

"As soon as the doc says he's safe to play and Brandon looks like he has the rust off, we'll get him back out there."

Mitchell only played for three possessions in the opener but the Wolfpack's offense hasn't been able to operate at the same pace or rhythm without him. Junior Pete Thomas has started the past four games, and has thrown for 1,163 yards, but he has two touchdowns compared to seven interceptions.

Thomas was missing plenty of key parts from the offense against Wake Forest. Senior receiver Rashard Smith injured his right knee in the first half. Valdes-Scantling missed the game with a hamstring injury and Dayes is nursing an ankle injury.

Doeren said he expects both Dayes, who leads the teams with five touchdowns, and Valdes-Scantling to play against Syracuse. There was no update on Smith, who tweaked his right knee on a kickoff return or safety Jarvis Byrd, who suffered a leg injury in the second quarter.

Left tackle Rob Crisp will miss his fourth straight game with concussion issues, Doeren said.

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