Starting running back J.D. Abbott has returned to practice and appears close to ending a two-game absence from the Johns Hopkins football team caused by an unspecified injury.
Coach Jim Margraff said Abbott, a senior who ranks first on the team in rushing touchdowns with seven and third in rushing with 326 yards, was cleared by the Blue Jays' medical staff and practiced Tuesday. But Margraff acknowledged that the recent play of sophomore Brandon Cherry (471 yards and four touchdowns) and freshmen Stuart Walters (335, three) and Dionisio Roman (126, three) makes it easier for the staff to consider giving Abbott extra time to recover.
"If he needs rest, he'll get rest. That's a medical decision," Margraff said Wednesday morning. "I think what you're saying is that it's a luxury to bring a guy back slowly, that there's not a need to throw him in there and have him get 25 carries. That's certainly not the plan. We've got good running backs, and they're all playing well right now. If he's ready to play this Saturday, I feel like he'll get some carries, but it's not something that has to happen. He's a senior that wants to play though. So from his end, I'm sure he's going to have a different thought about the process."
The outlook is not as rosy for senior wide receiver Bob D'Orazio, who injured his hamstring on the first series of Friday night's 42-17 thumping of Dickinson and sat out the remainder of the game.
"He was running around a little bit yesterday," Margraff said. "We kind of took an easy day with him. I think he's progressing, but a lot of times, we don't know someone's game status until Wednesday or Thursday. Our practices are intense, but they're not hitting a ton. So he just did some light running yesterday, and we'll see how he's doing today."
D'Orazio's absence was mitigated by the play of senior wide receiver Jared Beekman (three catches for 47 yards and one touchdown against Dickinson) and freshman wide receiver Bradley Munday (two for 20 yards and one score).
"I've been really impressed with all of our receivers," Margraff said. "One, they're blocking. Two, they're producing. Jared Beekman and [senior] Jon Monteiro both came here as quarterbacks along with Robbie Matey. They've moved positions, and it's great for our young guys to see guys switch positions. Beekman, we moved him to defense [defensive back] and then moved him back to offense. But both of those guys have worked incredibly hard at their craft and are having really outstanding senior years. It's enjoyable to see and it's fulfilling to see guys work that hard and things work out for them. These days, kids transfer the moment they're not playing or starting or they see someone ahead of them. These guys have stayed here, they've stayed the course, they love their teammates, they work hard, and it's paying off for them."