Good news, bad news on injury front

PULLMAN — The Cougars' bye week could not have come at a better time. With so many injuries, it gives the battered and bruised extra time to heal. Among those taking precautionary rests this week are quarterback Josh Swogger (knee), tight end Troy Bienemann (fibula bruise), receiver Trandon Harvey (turf toe) and safety Hamza Abdullah (groin).

Abdullah, by the way, will be replacing the club protecting his healing thumb injury with a smaller, more flexible cast. Same goes for middle linebacker Will Derting, who has been wearing a similar club on his healing wrist.

Progress also has been made on the injuries to Ropati Pitoitua (high ankle sprain) and Steve Cook (knee), who went out in the Colorado game. The two starting DTs have been doing some light running work-outs and are expected to be back in the line-up next week or the week after. In addition, receiver Marty Martin (shoulder separation) figures to be back within two to four weeks, as does freshman DE Jason Roberts (lateral meniscus tear).

The Cougars also are struggling with some long-term injuries. Tight end Cody Boyd had an inconclusive MRI on his ailing shoulder. There is some speculation he could be lost for the season. Backup linebacker Thomas Clements is out for the year with a knee injury, and is redshirting freshman DT Colin Donovan, who has a grade 3 MCL tear.

The knee sprain seems to be in the running for "most common injury" for the Cougs thus far. This week alone four players, including Swogger are missing practice because of knee sprains. The others are; linebacker Chris Baltzer, defensive end Reyshawn Bobo, and freshman wide receiver Bryan Baird. All should return by Monday if not before.

Freshman defensive tackle Matt Eichelberger is resting a sprained neck. The 6-3, 342 pound Bellingham native. A redshirt this season, has had a history of neck problems. Linebacker turned defensive end Paul Stevens did not practice Wednesday due to dental work.

At least two other Cougar games will be broadcast live this season: USC in Pullman on Oct. 30 and Washington in Pullman on Nov. 20. Both will be aired by ABC.

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