Sources: Ray Graham 'unlikely' for opener

Pitt running back Ray Graham is "unlikely to play" in the season opener against Youngstown State on Sept. 1, sources told Brett McMurphy of ESPN.com.

Graham is coming off a torn ACL in his right knee, and practice reports out of Pittsburgh have been less than encouraging. There were some signs of progress Wednesday when Graham got his first bit of contact during the fall.

“Definitely, we wanted to go out there and get that feeling," Graham said, according to the team's practice report. "I definitely wanted to go out there and do some live periods before Sept. 1 because I wanted to see how it actually felt, just to run around. I guess it’s more of a boost of confidence thing and I think that helped out. I feel more confident after that. It was only one series and it was only one drive, but still it felt better to go out there and just run around a little bit.”

Added coach Paul Chryst: "I think for being live he was on the ground once. I think you just keep trying to take baby steps to help him come along."

Graham is only 10 months removed from surgery. He did take a hard hit to his knee during practice Monday, but Graham said that was fine.

Still, he was asked Monday about the prospect of missing the opener. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Graham said, “I missed too many games (last year), but as far as being smart and knowing what is best for my leg, instead of going out there and being selfish about it, at the end of the day, I don’t think it would be a disappointment.”

Pitt plays at Cincinnati on a short week following Youngstown State. If there is any good news, it is that Isaac Bennett picked up from his strong spring and has had another outstanding set of practices. If Graham cannot play, Bennett would get the start.