'Cuse heading to New Orleans healthy

After three overtime games in the team's first four home games, Syracuse will get a nice change of pace this week. Not only will it head down to New Orleans for a rare early-season road game, but it will be near full strength in the process.

Syracuse has been banged up all season long, but most of the injured players are back on the practice field at a minimum. Coach Doug Marrone confirmed that Chandler Jones will miss the game against Tulane on Saturday, though the RS-junior said via Twitter that he will still make the trip with his teammates. Outside of him and Prince-Tyson Gulley (collarbone - out for season), the team is in good shape.

Perhaps the most important return is that of safety Shamarko Thomas. The secondary has played well in his absence, as has Jeremi Wilkes who started for him, but the physical play of the junior has been missed.

"I'm ready," Thomas re-iterated throughout the week.

"Shamarko (Thomas) is fine, he looks good," Marrone said. "(safety) Orlando Fisher was a little tight (earlier in the week) when he was making cuts so we'll look at the tape to make sure he is moving the right way. Other than that, I don't know of anyone else (who is injured)."

That is great news for senior quarterback Ryan Nassib, who suffered a hand contusion in the Toledo game nearly two weeks ago. He nodded to reporters Wednesday when asked if the injury was "good to go" for Saturday. Tight end Nick Provo has dealt with a shoulder issue, but he has not missed any practice time.

Fisher -- who has not been ruled out for Saturday -- is critical to SU's nickel defense and on passing downs, but he should be back for the West Virginia game (October 21) at the latest along with Jones. Both defenders have been out of action since the season opener against Wake Forest.

Cornerbacks Keon Lyn and Rishard Anderson will continue to play with casts on their hand/wrist, but both players maintain that it is not much of a limitation.


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