MORGANTOWN - West Virginia has this weekend off and then a game against 1-3 UNLV a week from Saturday before diving into the meat of its schedule. South Florida comes to Morgantown for a Thursday night game just five days after UNLV.
It seems like the perfect scenario for a team that is a bit banged up after the first four games of the season, what with at least six starters or key contributors nursing one thing or another - a chance to recover not only this week, but perhaps next.
And that's exactly the way the Mountaineers are approaching it.
Take the case of starting left guard Josh Jenkins, for instance. Jenkins had arthroscopic surgery eight days ago after injuring a knee in a win over Maryland. He missed Saturday night's 20-14 loss at LSU and now has an extra week to rehabilitate the knee before UNLV.
Coach Bill Stewart said Tuesday that he expects Jenkins to be ready for the Rebels, but when push comes to shove the real goal is South Florida in just over two weeks.
"I really want him to be ready for the South Florida game,'' Stewart said. "Not that we'll ever overlook an opponent [UNLV], but that South Florida game, being the Big East [game] No. 1, that to me is where we'd like to have all of our starters back intact.''
Just for the record, the list of West Virginia's wounded is fairly lengthy. In addition to Jenkins, there is tailback Noel Devine [foot], defensive ends Julian Miller [back] and Will Clarke [ankle], tight end Tyler Urban [knee] and linebacker Pat Lazear [leg].
Devine was injured against LSU, Miller the week before that, Clarke in the second week of the season, Urban the first week and Lazear during the preseason. Devine played hurt against the Tigers, Miller was limited to part-time duty and Lazear saw his first action of the season. Clarke has missed the last two games and Urban the last three.
All could be near 100 percent by that Big East opener against South Florida, provided they don't do any more damage between now and then. And so Stewart will be cautious with them.
"They'll play. How much they'll play against UNLV I'm just not sure,'' Stewart said. "There's [only] a five-day turnaround before we play our first conference game.''
The most troubling of the current crop of injuries is, of course, the latest. Devine injured the bone on the bottom of his foot just behind his big toe against LSU when he was hit out of bounds, a play that Stewart is still a bit angered about. The officials threw a flag for a personal foul against the Tigers, and it was one of 12 penalties called against LSU, including another personal foul for grabbing Devine's facemask, which turned his head and neck a full 180 degrees.
"It was a 15-yard penalty. It was one of 12,'' Stewart said. "They all kind of ran together.''
Stewart said Devine would continue to get treatment and will practice if he can.