Courtney Messingham isn’t sure when either Phillip Brooks or Jordon Brown will come back from their respective injuries. Messingham, in his first year as Kansas State’s offensive coordinator, just wants both to return when they’re as close to 100% health as possible.
Brooks, a redshirt freshman wide receiver, had the best outing of his career against Baylor earlier this month, registering game- and career-highs for receptions (seven) and yards (69). But he sat out last week’s win over TCU with what head coach Chris Klieman called “a lower-body injury.”
Whenever Brooks hits the field again, Messingham said, it’s vital that he finds his form quickly.
“We need Phillip to be able to come and bring it, because two weeks ago, I really felt like he was starting to show up a little bit more — I shouldn’t say two weeks ago,” Messingham said Thursday. “There’s games this year where you’d feel like, ‘Man, he’s close to breaking out and really being a threat.’”
Brooks is second on the team in catches (15) and has 107 receiving yards. He’s also been the Wildcats’ top option on both punt and kick returns: His five punt returns for 54 yards ranks first while he also has a team-best seven kick returns this fall, with his 163 kick return yards trailing only Knowles’ 170.
Following last week’s win Klieman said Brooks’ status going forward was “day to day.”
While Messingham didn’t declaratively say Brooks would play in Saturday’s game against No. 5 Oklahoma, he was optimistic.
“Hopefully we can use him more this week,” Messingham said.
Brown, a senior running back who joined the team as a graduate transfer from North Carolina, hasn’t played since last month’s loss at Oklahoma State. On Oct. 8, Klieman said he would be “knocking on wood” for Brown to be able to play against the Sooners.
Though Messingham didn’t delve into specifics, he said as soon as the Wildcats “get an all clear” on Brown, he’ll return.
“I anticipate him playing as much as he played in the start, meaning him rotating through, him having his packages, him being able to be the guy that we feel like he is,” Messingham said. “It’s just getting him so he’s cleared, and then we’ll roll him (in).”
Brown played in each of K-State’s first four games rushing 25 times for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Despite missing the past two contests, Brown’s total yardage, rushing touchdowns and rushing yards per game (41.5) remain second on the team to fellow graduate transfer James Gilbert, the starting running back in all six games.
Brown also had been a threat in the passing game, hauling in five receptions for 51 yards, tops among the Wildcats’ running backs.