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James Rodgers nears return for Beavers

One player doesn't make a team, but if wide receiver James Rodgers is about to return to action for Oregon State, well, that's huge.

I know that's not profound analysis but the 5-foot-7 dynamo is simply one of the nation's most dynamic players -- as a receiver, runner and return guy.

Further, beyond his playmaking, he's a leader and a guy who sets a tone. The other 21 guys playing with him will play just a little bit better when they see Rodgers out there with them.

While it's not a done-deal that he will play against UCLA on Saturday, Rodgers looked like his old self during the bye week, albeit with no contact. From The Oregonian:

He gradually increased his participation level to the point where he was practicing full speed with the first string during the bye week albeit without any significant contact work.

Wearing a knee brace, which he admits took some getting used to, Rodgers was making difficult catches in traffic, turning the corner on the fly sweeps, and diving for balls with apparently little regard for his knee.

In short, he looked ready to play.

The Bruins and Beavers are two teams on the ropes. Neither has generated much in terms of positive momentum thus far, and that wears on a locker room. The loser Saturday will be in bad shape.

Rodgers return would give the Beavers a big boost, both in the locker room and with a fan base grateful to see a favorite player back after a terrible knee injury. Meanwhile, the Bruins will be on the road without any similar boost.

So you'd have to feel Rodgers could be a potential key ingredient in the Beavers first win.

And perhaps step one in their semi-annual reversal of fortune?