Kansas State likely will be without Jordon Brown for the foreseeable future.
Brown, a running back who joined K-State as a graduate transfer from North Carolina, sat out last week’s home loss to Baylor with an undisclosed injury. And head coach Chris Klieman thinks the injury potentially could keep Brown off the field for the rest of the month.
“I would still say he’s a few weeks away,” Klieman said during his weekly press conference Tuesday. “I would be knocking on wood for Oklahoma. I know he’s not going to be with us this week, and I doubt for next week.”
The Wildcats have their second (and final) open date of the season Saturday. The following week, K-State welcomes TCU to Bill Snyder Family Stadium for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff Oct. 19. Then Oklahoma comes to Manhattan on Oct. 26. If Brown returns after the contest with the Sooners, that would make his comeback this year’s Sunflower Showdown against Kansas, which will take place in Lawrence on Nov. 2.
But Klieman didn’t rule out Brown possibly sitting the rest of the season, either. Since Brown only has played in four games this season, he’d meet the threshold for receiving a medical redshirt. He’d also be eligible for one since he didn’t redshirt during his three-year career at North Carolina from 2016 to 2018.
If it comes to that, the Wildcats would do their due diligence.
“(A redshirt for Brown) is something we would look at,” Klieman said.
In his four games this fall, Brown has carried 25 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns. His total yardage, rushing touchdowns and rushing yards per game (41.5) rank second on the team to fellow graduate transfer James Gilbert, who has started all five games at tailback this season. Brown also has five receptions for 51 yards, tops among the Wildcats’ running backs.
Irrespective of how long Brown is sidelined, Gilbert isn’t worried. He said every other running back on the roster now needs to take on a “next man up mentality” to make up for Brown’s absence.
“Obviously, we want him to come back. He should be coming real soon,” Gilbert said Tuesday, “but at the same time, we’ve got younger guys who need to step up, and I need to step up and take more leadership. So I feel like we’ve got the guys in the room that, when somebody goes down, we’ve got somebody who can step up and carry the load until he gets back.”
Wildcats to ‘play it by ear’ with injured WR
Klieman didn’t field any questions about another injured player, wide receiver Malik Knowles, on Tuesday. But Klieman already addressed Knowles’ status during his weekly appearance on the Big 12 coaches teleconference Monday.
“We’ll play it by ear this week,” Klieman said. “We probably won’t have a lot of him this week, but we’re hopeful, just like we were last week, that he can give us some snaps. We’ll see how far along he progresses.”
Knowles is dealing with a lower-body injury he suffered during K-State’s win at Mississippi State on Sept. 14. He sat out the team’s 26-13 loss at Oklahoma State on Sept. 28 before returning to play against Baylor last week. Quarterback Skylar Thompson targeted Knowles on the first three plays of the contest.
Knowles left the game later in the first quarter, however, and did not return. He finished with one reception for 5 yards.
A redshirt freshman, Knowles has caught 10 passes for 142 yards and two touchdowns this season. He also returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Mississippi State, which tied that game at 24-all early in the fourth quarter. He earned the Big 12’s special teams player of the week award for that performance two days later.