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De'Anthony Thomas set to return this week for Oregon Ducks


Oregon running back De'Anthony Thomas returned to practice Monday and indicated he would play Saturday against UCLA, adding another weapon to a Ducks offense that has averaged 54.8 points and 621 yards in his absence.

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Thomas sprained his ankle returning the opening kickoff against California on Sept. 28 and missed the Ducks' next three games.

"I'm ready. I'm hungry and ready to get back on the field," Thomas told reporters.

A junior, Thomas has rushed for 340 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 8.0 yards per carry, and is a game-breaking threat as a receiver and return specialist.

With the development of sophomore running back Byron Marshall and true freshman Thomas Tyner -- Oregon averaged 315 rushing yards per game in Thomas' absence -- Thomas should be able to focus on being that multi-faceted threat going forward rather than the main ball carrier.

Thomas' availability against the Bruins could create compelling matchups against outside linebackers Anthony Barr and freshman Myles Jack coming out of the backfield or lined up as a receiver. Barr is best athletes in college football, and Jack has six pass breakups and one interception this season.

With Thomas (5-foot-9, 169 pounds) likely to play a slash role in the NFL, how he fares against the potential No. 1 overall draft pick in Barr could dramatically elevate his standing in the eyes of scouts.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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