UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET by Ben Chodos
Nebraska's Rex Burkhead will return for the team's upcoming game against Idaho State.
Pelini also says Rex Burkhead will play this week.— Brian Rosenthal (@HuskerExtraBR) September 17, 2012
#Huskers Pelini on Rex: "He'll be out there practicing...we anticipate on him playing." Mentioned he could have played this past weekend.— Nebraska Huskers (@Huskers) September 17, 2012
The RBs return will be a significant boost to the team as it starts its climb back up the AP Top 25 poll.
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UPDATE: Thursday, Sept. 13 at 10:30 p.m. by Tyler Conway
Though Carl Pelini won't fully rule out running back Rex Burkhead for Saturday's game against Arkansas State, it's looking unlikely he will suit up.
While saying listing him as doubtful, the Nebraska head coach left open a slight possibility that his Burkhead could play. According to Pelini, the star running back is working hard to recover from his sprained MCL in time for Saturday.
Via the Lincoln Journal Star's Brian Christopherson:
I would say right now he’s doubtful, I want to make sure he's absolutely 100 percent before we put him back there. But you know, he’s champing at the bit to get out there. We’ll just see how the next 48 hours play out.
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UPDATE: Saturday, September 8 at 7:37 p.m. ET by Richard Langford
ESPN's Adam Rittenberg is reporting that starting Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead is out of the the Cornhusker's game against UCLA on Saturday. His sprained MCL will not let him take the field.
Rittenberg also points out that "sophomore Ameer Abdullah is expected to start."
Earlier in the week, it looked like Burkhead was going to be able to go for this one, which is at least promising that he should be ready to go next week.
UPDATE: Monday, Sept. 3 at 12:00 p.m. ET by Alex Kay
It seems that Rex Burkhead is going to be back and ready for action in the Nebraska Cornhuskers second game against the UCLA Bruins.
According to Adam Rittenberg and Brian Bennett of ESPN's Big Ten Blog, Burkhead is listed on this week's depth chart as the starter, and coach Bo Pelini believes the MCL sprain his I-back suffered against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles isn't serious.
Rex Burkhead listed as starter at I-back on Nebraska's depth chart for UCLA game. Bo Pelini said Saturday that knee sprain not too serious.— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) September 3, 2012
Nebraska will certainly be boosted by his return and should feel much more comfortable going into California on Saturday with their senior running back suited up and ready to go.
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Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead is done for the game against Southern Mississippi after suffering a knee injury in the first half of action.
According to ESPN's Big Ten Twitter update, Burkhead is out of the game with a left knee MCL sprain.
Sprained knee (MCL) for Rex Burkhead. Out for the rest of the game. Big loss— Rittenberg/Bennett (@ESPN_BigTen) September 1, 2012
Burkhead took a handoff from Taylor Martinez around the left side before being dragged down in the first half. He then stood up gingerly and made his way off the field under his own power before next being seen with an ice wrap on his left knee on the Nebraska bench.
The standard recovery time for a serious MCL injury is four to six weeks. That would be a big loss for the Huskers, who look to Burkhead to balance the offense and set the tempo in the run-heavy Big Ten.
The Huskers have found themselves in a battle with an unranked opponent already. The No. 17 Huskers have high hopes this season, but facing this sort of adversity so early on has the potential to derail their season.
While having Burkhead sidelined for the game is a major inconvenience, it's going to make them vulnerable if he has to miss any amount of time for the Huskers going forward. While playing on the road at UCLA is certainly a winnable game, Nebraska being without its best running back would be a crushing blow that levels out the playing field for the Bruins.
The Huskers are also touting Burkhead as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate, so this is a crushing blow to the senior's fairy tale ending in college.
Stay tuned for the latest updates surrounding Rex Burkhead's sprained MCL.