Could Oregon Really Get Bralon Addison Back for Michigan State?

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Top returning Oregon Ducks wide receiver Bralon Addison tore his ACL in mid-April, and as is often the case with such an injury, the team seemed to be preparing for a season without him.

But on Monday, Sports Illustrated quoted Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota as saying Addison’s “goal [to return] is Michigan State.”

The defending Big Ten and Rose Bowl champions visit Autzen Stadium for one of the 2014 season’s most anticipated nonconference tilts on Week 2. As in Sept. 6.

Or in other words, just one-third of a year after Addison suffered an injury that typically requires a full year of recovery. Few would lend credence to such talk not long ago, but as mentioned in SI, Minnesota Vikings running Adrian Peterson changed perception two years ago.

Peterson returned from an ACL tear after just nine months of recovery time to win the NFL Most Valuable Player award.

But that anomalous situation led to what orthopedic surgeon Michael Jablonski described as the “Adrian Peterson Effect” to Yahoo! Sports’ Eric Adelson last September.

“To get back to truly full strength,” Jablonski says, “if you talk to anyone who’s had ACL surgery, they’ll tell you it takes you a full year.”

Even with Peterson’s remarkable nine-month recovery, the Ducks would be fortunate to have Addison back in time for the Civil War rivalry game against Oregon State on Nov. 29. But in time for Michigan State on Sept. 6? Bralon Addison would cut Peterson’s incredible recovery time in half with such an early return.

Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich certainly seems to be preparing for an offense without Bralon Addison. At Pac-12 media days, he spoke of Keanon Lowe, the team’s leading receiver with Addison sidelined, taking charge with new contributors in more prominent roles.

“Keanon Lowe is a tremendous guy at that position [wide receiver] [who has] done a great job of mentoring our young guys and getting them ready to rock,” Helfrich said.

National 110-meter hurdles champion Devon Allen is among the young Ducks expected to step up in Addison’s absence. Allen impressed in May’s spring game, hauling in touchdown passes of 45 and 49 yards. He and fellow redshirt freshman Darren Carrington were both highlighted in Helfrich’s spring teleconference call for their emergence.

Perhaps more than anything, Mariota is giving Michigan State’s ballyhooed defense some extra for which it must game-plan. The Spartans secondary earned the nickname “No-Fly Zone” last season for allowing just 165.6 yards per game, third fewest in the nation.

Michigan State replaces Darqueze Dennard and Isaiah Lewis from that unit, but the remaining defensive backs are intent on maintaining the level of play established in 2013.

Said Kurtis Drummond to Kyle Austin of MLive.com:

We just take it as setting the bar high for ourselves. That’s something we want to harp on ourselves to make it a better practice habit and continue to get better every day. That’s the confidence that we have that we are a no fly zone, and we have the privilege to go against a great offense to give us that practice.

An intriguing showdown of two top-10 caliber teams just got a whole lot more intriguing.