Rest and Relaxation: The Doctor's Orders

Bleacher ReportAnalyst IOctober 16, 2009

EUGENE, OR - SEPTEMBER 26: Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli #8 of the Oregon Ducks sets to throw a pass in the third quarter of the game against the California Bears at Autzen Stadium on September 26, 2009 in Eugene, Oregon. Oregon won the game 42-3. (Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)

For the Oregon Ducks, a bye week could not have come at a more convenient time.

While loaded with talent and depth, the Ducks are hurt, tired, and a little hungover from the euphoria of a five game winning streak.

Starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who tweaked his knee during the first half of the Ducks' 52-6 rout of the Washington State Cougars, was taken out of the game before halftime, and appeared on the sideline in warm-ups at the start of the third quarter, icing his knee.

All indications are that Masoli suffered either a sprained or strained MCL. He did not practice for two consecutive days, but wore shells for the last half of the week before the Ducks' road trip to Pasadena.

Masoli did not suit up for the game against the UCLA Bruins. However, he wasn't needed. Backup Nate Costa filled in quite nicely for Masoli.

Aside from making one mental mistake that gave the Bruins seven free points, Costa played well, and helped lead the Ducks to a 24-10 road win over the Bruins.

This week, the Ducks will not be playing. On Wednesday's practice, the first of two the Ducks will be conducting this week, the second of which will take place today, Masoli wore shells, not full pads.

He did not run very much, but he did throw many more passes than he did last week.

"I took a lot more reps," Masoli said. "I was taking a lot more reps with the first team, getting my routes (and) timing back."

A second MRI was conducted on Masoli's knee last week. Masoli said that "the MRI didn't show anything really. It's fine."

Pessimists and rumor mongers all throughout the country have raced to their computers to spread falsities that Masoli indeed tore his MCL and is out for the season.

People of intelligence should not listen to said rumors. Masoli suffered the exact same injury that USC starting quarterback Matt Barkley sustained earlier in the season. Barkley is back at full strength now. Duck fans should expect Masoli to come back this season as well.

The question however, is when? Barkley missed only two weeks. Masoli has missed one so far, but looking at how his injury his healing, all indications are that Masoli will be ready to suit up and start against the Washington Huskies on Oct. 24th.

There is a slight fear factor though. As mentioned, the Ducks will be traveling to Seattle to face the Huskies. The worst case scenario, knock on wood, would be that Masoli isn't 100 percent going into the game.

What happened the last time a powerhouse Pac-10 team visited Husky Stadium without their starting quarterback?

Enough said.

However, I do not believe Masoli will not be ready in time for next week.

And even if he is not, knock on wood (again), Nate Costa proved to the world that he can lead the Ducks to victory. And, let's face it. UCLA's defense is much better than Washington's.

Some may say that Costa's performance at UCLA is not cause for positive thought. Keep in mind however that the UCLA game was Costa's first career start. For a quarterback to return after three major knee surgeries and win his first career start is no small feat.

Costa is now brimming with confidence. He knows that he is capable of leading the Ducks to victory, and the team knows it, too. His teammates have all the confidence in the world in him.

But for now, let us follow suit of the Oregon Ducks this week. Rest, relax, recuperate, and return next week with the anticipation of a small child on Christmas morning.

For the Oregon Ducks, and especially for Jeremiah Masoli, the bye week could not have come at a more convenient time.

A little R&R? It's just what the doctor ordered.