At long last, UCLA will have a full stable of backs. Head coach Jim Mora said starter Jordon James, Paul Perkins, Damien Thigpen, Malcolm Jones and Steve Manfro should be 100 percent healthy heading into the Sun Bowl next Tuesday.
“They all looked really sharp out here today,” Mora said. “It’s probably been since training camp that we can say that. … It’s probably the first game that they’ve all been ready to go. So we’ll have to find a way to get them all reps.”
James rushed for 424 yards in his first three games before a lingering sprained ankle limited his effectiveness the rest of the season. Manfro and Thigpen — also coming off rehab for a torn ACL — have also battled sore/sprained ankles late in the season, while Jones sustained a head injury against Washington on Nov. 15.
Redshirt freshman Paul Perkins, who began the season as the backup, is the only back in UCLA’s regular rotation who has played every game. The other four have combined to miss 16 games this season due to injury.
In today’s Daily News, a look at Ishmael Adams and UCLA’s touchdown return drought.