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No. 3 Oregon Expecting Multiple Key Players Back vs. Arizona

The Ducks hope to use this weekend’s game to reintroduce some previously injured players and get them reps for the rest of the season.

With the season now entering conference play, the Ducks will see the return of multiple key players against the Wildcats. On Wednesday, Head Coach Mario Cristobal sat down with the media and gave an update on some of the injuries his team has dealt with so far this season.

Anthony Brown was injured after a sack to end the first half against Stony Brook, and it sounds like he won't miss any extended time after not playing in the second half. 

"He's good to go," Cristobal said. 

The veteran quarterback has led the Ducks and played some very clean football, limiting turnovers and moving the ball effectively in big games such as Ohio State. Having him back to lead the Ducks in their first conference matchup will give the offense a boost.

"Troy Franklin is good to go, Mase [Funa] is good to go," he added. "Keith Brown's good."

Franklin was shaken up towards the end of the matchup against Stony Brook when he was hit after laying a block that helped spring Dont’e Thornton on his touchdown run. 

Both Funa and Keith Brown did not play against Stony Brook after dealing with injuries stemming from the Ohio State matchup. Cristobal said earlier this week that Brown was available last weekend, but that the staff opted for caution with the freshman.

Steven Jones is another player that was said to be "good” during Wednesday's press conference. Jones has been a part of a dominant offensive line that was able to bully the Buckeyes front seven for almost the entire game. He got a heavy share of snaps at right tackle along with Malaesala Aumavae-Laulu before exiting the Stony Brook game. 

The biggest name for Oregon fans want to hear about is defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux. The top-draft prospect has been out for the Ducks since he left early in the Fresno State game.

“KT is really improving,” Cristobal said. “It's still day-to-day but it’s close. We’re getting real close so we’re very encouraged by what we see there.”

Oregon’s defensive line would become an absolute nightmare for Arizona if Thibodeaux were to be injected back into the lineup, though it wouldn't be a surprise if the staff chooses to rest him. In his first game this season, he forced a fumble on a strip sack after barreling into Jake Haener at full speed. 

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While there is a lot of positive news on the injury front, it doesn’t sound like all the recent injured players will be making a return against Arizona. Freshman Bradyn Swinson will likely miss this game, and maybe even more. 

"Swinson, doubtful, questionable. I don't know what those terms mean but one or the other," Cristobal said.

Swinson was injured during the intense game in Columbus, and did not play against Stony Brook. This is a tough blow for Oregon as Swinson was a huge factor in the upset over Ohio State.

Oregon will hope to stay healthy this week when they welcome Arizona into town for their first Pac-12 after-dark game. 

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