James feels fine and back in a 'flow'.
LaMichael James declared himself "100 percent" on Tuesday, three days after returning from a two-game absence because of an elbow injury.
Wearing a brace and a sleeve over the joint he dislocated against California on Oct. 6, James ran 13 times for 53 yards against Washington State this past weekend. The Oregon junior is listed as the starter for the Ducks this week at Washington, after entering the WSU game as a question mark.
"It was one of those games where I wasn't trying to blow the doors off and rush for 300 yards," James said. "I was trying to test my arm out, and I'm really happy with the way I played, based on the circumstances - not playing for a while, just to get back in the groove of things and try to catch my flow. I think I'm ready to go right now."
James averaged 1.6 yards on seven first-half carries against the Cougars, then 7.0 yards on six second-half carries.
"I knew going into the game I was going to be a little rusty," James said. "I missed two games; I missed like three weeks. You can't really simulate game speed in practice."
James said he now feels more comfortable cradling and running with a football after having played in a game. He has two different braces to choose from, the one he wore Saturday and a smaller version.
Leading up to the WSU game, James was made to do up-downs - usually reserved as a punitive measure - to show athletic trainers that he could break falls with his arms despite the elbow injury.
"I felt like I was in trouble, I was doing so many," James joked.
Now, he said, he's able to do them without the brace. The elbow didn't swell up after the WSU game, he said, and his range of motion has been good.
"I was really happy that I got hit, and they tried to strip the ball, and I'm glad that happened," James said. "Just to see how it would do, just to get my confidence back, see that it wouldn't give out on me. So I'm really glad I played in that game."
This week, James plans to resume returning punts, which he did early this season, briefly leading the nation in yards per return. He said he'll have no concerns about his elbow despite the risk of taking a big hit in that role.
"I just play free," James said.
Delaney gets more duty
The Ducks faced WSU without their two primary punt returners, James and suspended cornerback Cliff Harris, and so walk-on receiver Chad Delaney of Elmira was deep to receive punts to begin the game.
Delaney first filled in as a returner against Missouri State in September, then replaced Harris at Colorado and returned one kick for five yards.
"I've got a lot of faith and a lot of confidence in him," UO coach Chip Kelly said. "He makes really good decisions out there and has put himself in position where, there's three or four guys we'll put back there, and Chad's one of them."
Gildon says he'll be back
Senior cornerback Anthony Gildon said Tuesday he expects to play against the Huskies after missing WSU with an injury.
Gildon was in pads but did not play against the Cougars. Redshirt freshmen Troy Hill and true freshman Ifo Ekpre-Olomu started at corner, with redshirt freshman Terrance Mitchell rotating in. Gildon is listed as a starter on Oregon's pregame depth chart this week, along with Hill.
Watch the flags fly
Oregon enters this week as the nation's 16th-most penalized team, while Washington is 10th out of 120 teams in the FBS.
Eight of the 24 most penalized teams are from the Pac-12 Conference, which revamped its officiating program this offseason.
"You've got to try to stay out of that, because those are situations that really can stop drives," Kelly said. "But to what the overall theory is on that, I've got no idea."
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|Title Annotation:||Football Oregon; The Oregon running back says his elbow is 100 percent for the Washington game this weekend|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||Nov 2, 2011|
|Previous Article:||Season starts now for Ducks.|
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