We all know that Pitt got some good news when it was announced that guard Lucas Nix' injury wasn't serious. The question, now, though, is will be ready for Pitt's game against Rutgers on Saturday?
So far, there hasn't been much talk about a return date. Todd Graham says the team is hoping for a return 'soon', but how soon is anybody's guess right now. Scout says that he's not been ruled out for the Rutgers game, which is good news, obviously.
Unfortunately for Pitt, the team doesn't have a bye this week. But there is a small amount of good news since Pitt has a longer week than normal with the Thursday night against South Florida. That gives Nix a few extra days to recover and could make a difference
So, does he play on Saturday?
Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette says it's not likely.
To be honest, I don't know if that's enough time. It's not too encouraging that Nix didn't return to the game. That's significant because it was such a huge game for Pitt. When he exited, Pitt was locked into a battle with USF and you've got to think that if there was any way for him to get back to the field, he would have found a way to do it. The fact that he couldn't means to me that he was pretty banged up.
Nix is widely regarded as the Panthers' best offensive lineman and should be playing on Sundays in 2012. If he's unable to go, Pitt probably turns again to Ryan Schlieper (who, by the way, almost didn't even come to Pitt). Nix, who came back out to the sidelines, did his best to help him along the way:
"Every time I came off the field Lucas was in my ear," Schlieper said. " 'Keep going out there, give it everything you got. You are doing good.' It was a great feeling."
Schlieper, by all indications, did a fine job. But let's not kid ourselves - having Nix in there is obviously a huge advantage. Not only is Pitt better served if he starts, but the team will be better off if they don't need to go down another level to find a backup for Schlieper.