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Bulldogs hopeful Perkins returns to the backfield against Arkansas


Matthew Stevens



STARKVILLE -- One of the first things Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen is likely to do when he arrives at the Bryan Building each morning this week is check the trainers report. 


There's a name on it this week that takes higher priority over possibly anybody else on the Bulldogs 2012 roster: LaDarius Perkins. 


MSU's junior tailback was held out of Saturday's 37-17 at Louisiana State University Saturday with what team officials and MSU coach Dan Mullen confirmed was a right quad injury. Mullen said after the game in Baton Rouge, La., that the injury occurred Wednesday in practice but the Bulldogs fourth-year head coach got more specific about the timeline during his weekly teleconference Sunday. 


"Obviously when you're dealing with a muscle injury you never know but I feel pretty good," Mullen said when asked about the likelihood of Perkins being in the lineup this week for the home finale against Arkansas. 


Perkins did participate in pre-game warmups Saturday night at Tiger Stadium but MSU's training staff and the coaching staff determined it was not a logical long-term solution to ask the Bulldogs leading rusher to possibly inflict further damage on the severely strained quad injury. 


"It was a decision that we thought he might be able to play and it was a decision we made right before the kickoff that he would not be 100 percent," Mullen said. "It is one of those things where playing with it could make it worse. A lot of guys that are beat up, if you play with it -- it can't get any worse (and) we'll let them go." 


MSU (7-3, 3-3 in Southeastern Conference) finished below the century mark in rushing in each of its three straight losses to LSU, Texas A&M University and the University of Alabama. In that same three week period, Perkins has dropped from first to fifth in rushing yardage in the league after combining for 8 yards on the ground in those trio of games. Without a stable running attack, MSU has featured a unbalanced offense relying solely on the right arm of quarterback Tyler Russell throwing the football. 


"Well, obviously he's done a really good job (and) not having Perk is a big deal for us," MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning said after the loss Saturday at LSU. "We need to get him well and get him back on the field. I'll be a lot happier." 


The Bulldogs gave sophomore Nick Griffin his first career start Saturday in Perkins' absence and he was only able to total 38 rushing yards on 11 carries on one of the best defensive fronts in the SEC. 


"It hurts not having your star player out there," Griffin said after the game Saturday. "But we just got to step up as a team and execute without (him)." 


Mullen insinuated Sunday that the junior tailback has already given the MSU coaching staff the impression he is pushing to be on the field for Senior Day at Davis Wade Stadium when the Bulldogs face the University of Arkansas Saturday (11:21 a.m., SEC Network). 


"Our trainers have said, and he's pretty adamant that he's playing this week, but the training report will decide how close he'll get," Mullen said.



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