Skylar Thompson, Southern Illinois Kansas St Football

Trainers help Kansas State quarterback Skylar Thompson (7) off the field after the sixth-year senior sustained an injury during the first quarter of the team’s game against Southern Illinois on Sept. 11 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium. Head coach Chris Klieman said Tuesday that Thompson likely won’t be back for this week’s game versus No. 6 Oklahoma.

Skylar Thompson might end up sitting out his third straight game Saturday when Kansas State hosts No. 6 Oklahoma.

Head coach Chris Klieman wasn’t optimistic that Thompson, who injured his leg in the first quarter of the team’s Sept. 11 victory over Southern Illinois, will be good to go come 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

“I would say not likely this week,” Klieman said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. “He’s doing more things, but I just think it’d be — maybe late in the week we’ll have a better understanding, but right now, I would say no.”

With Thompson potentially remaining on the sideline Saturday, Klieman said either Will Howard or Jaren Lewis would be the starter. That Thompson isn’t cleared yet levels with what Klieman thought when he heard the initial diagnosis.

“Our hope all along was (Thompson would be back during) the open week, getting him a chance to be back for Iowa State,” said Klieman, referring to the Wildcats’ game against the Cyclones on Oct. 16, one week after K-State’s lone open date of the season. “That’s kind of the timetable it was. I don’t think that’ll change.”

Thompson gave K-State fans a jolt last week, when he took the field with his teammates during pregame warmups prior to kickoff against Oklahoma State. Thompson threw passes and moved around well while wearing a long-sleeve shirt and shorts. He did not end up donning a uniform, however, as Howard started his second consecutive game.

After the 31-20 loss to the Cowboys, Klieman said Thompson was “progressing” in his recovery.

“We wanted him to go out there and throw it around,” Klieman said. “But it’s not his arm that is hurting. So we’ll see where he’s at in the coming weeks.”

At that time, Klieman declined to provide a timetable for Thompson’s return to the lineup.

“Like I said, he can throw it,” Klieman said. “We’ve got to make sure he can run before he can play, and I don’t know if that’s two weeks. I don’t know if that’s the open week. I don’t know if that’s three weeks. We’ll keep progressing him.”

Starting center Noah Johnson, one of Thompson’s closest friends, said last week that the sixth-year signal-caller had been “attacking rehab.” Thompson, Johnson said, is “doing anything he can” to get back as quickly as possible.

“I don’t know when that’ll be, but I know he’s going to come back with a vengeance,” Johnson said. “Just naturally, any time you’re a person going through that, there’s a certain toll that that takes on your soul, man, but he has done his best to put those feelings aside and still be the guy we need him (to be) on this team.”

It’s a role known defined by a myriad of phrases.

Face of the program. Head of the body. Leader of the team.

“This is his team. He is the heart and soul of our team,” said Johnson, praising Thompson’s mentoring of Howard and Lewis. “He’s still — in whatever capacity and whatever his role is, he owns that. We’re excited to get him back.”

That could come as soon as Saturday — after all, Klieman didn’t officially rule out Thompson from suiting up against the Sooners.

Klieman just wouldn’t bet on it.

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s doing more things,” Klieman said. “But (enough) to play a game? I don’t think so right now.”