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Source: Batch returning soon

Baron Batch, Texas Tech's leading rusher in 2008, likely will return from an elbow injury much sooner than expected, according to a source close to the situation.

Batch, who led Texas Tech with 758 rushing yards and seven touchdowns last season, did some light work at practice Monday and is expected to be ready for full-contact drills by the middle of next week, the source said.

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported that last Wednesday, Batch was hit by defensive tackle Chris Perry during an inside running drill and landed awkwardly on his arm. Batch later was taken from the Tech football facility in a private vehicle, accompanied by school medical personnel.

In Batch's absence, Tech has been able to get more work for true freshman Eric Stephens, one-time defensive back Andre McCorkle, Aaron Crawford and redshirt freshman Harrison Jeffers.

The Red Raiders scrimmaged at the end of their practice in full pads Monday night and Stephens had an impressive showing, highlighted by a tackle-breaking touchdown run after catching a screen pass.

In 2008, Batch led the Big 12 with a 6.7-yard per carry average and ranked second among conference running backs with 45 receptions.

The Red Raiders open Sept. 5 against North Dakota, then host Rice before playing at Texas Sept. 19.

Bruce Feldman is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine.