Lance Mitchell is headed for surgery in the offseason.
The senior safety for the Oregon State football team has played through pain this season from his abdominal injury that has plagued him for the second half of his career.
Mitchell could have had surgery before the offseason, but he might not have been ready at the start of the season. And he wanted to play his final season.
"I saw a specialist and have a schedule of what I want to do as far as surgery and after the season when I'm going to get it," Mitchell said. "I learned a lot this past weekend."
Until the surgery he'll practice when he can and play as much as he can. Last week he went in during nickel situations only.
Mitchell said he feels better this week than last week, and plans to play more. When he can't play Ryan Murphy takes his place.
"Injury is never a good thing, but I needed to play through it," Mitchell said of delaying surgery. "I have to make it work for me as far as the timing when I can train after the season and finish up the season. It's a tricky situation, but something I have to deal with."
Coach Mike Riley is taking a wait-and-see approach.
"We'll see how he is," Riley said. "I have to be vague because it's just what it is."
Mitchell had strong sophomore and junior seasons with 72 and 74 tackles, respectively. He had seven pass breakups and three interceptions as a sophomore and three breakups and two interceptions last year.
There have been 34 tackles and an interception halfway through this season.
Mitchell hopes to recover from his offseason surgery soon, and be able to work out for NFL scouts in the spring. NFL Draft Countdown ranks him as the No. 24 safety available in next year's draft.
"I don't have any regrets," Mitchell said. "I didn't get (surgery last summer) for a reason. I wanted to play in the games, and it happened to get worse. That was a possibility and that was the cards I was dealt. God has a plan. I'll work through it and be ready as soon as possible after the season."
Middle linebacker Kevin Unga (calf) and outside linebacker Cameron Collins (groin) were ruled out of Saturday’s game against Washington State when they couldn’t practice this week, Riley said after Thursday’s practice.
Tony Wilson will start in place of Unga and Rueben Robinson will be the backup. Robinson will start for Collins with D.J. Welch the backup.
The status for running back Jovan Stevenson (knee) will be a game-time decision.
Andrews backing up again
Offensive guard Josh Andrews (knee) is still not ready to return to the starting lineup, two games after he has been cleared. He’ll be the backup to his replacement Grant Enger.
“We are still playing with that,” coach Mike Riley said. “I don’t think he’ll start this week, but getting closer to playing.”