Trevon Bradford was primed for a standout senior season.
The Oregon State receiver had 56 receptions for 649 yards and a team-high six touchdowns as a junior.
But surgery for a broken foot kept the 6-foot-0 Oregon City High grad out of spring practice.
Then during his first workout following surgery in late June, Bradford rebroke the foot.
He hasn’t been able to play since.
Bradford said Tuesday he has been cleared to play and hoped to be incorporated into more team drills on Wednesday.
“It’s frustrating not being out there and being with my guys,” Bradford said. “It’s a learning experience for me. I’ve got to get healthy and I’m just excited to be out there when I can be out there.”
Bradford can play in four of the final five games this season and still take a redshirt season because he has yet to utilize that option.
That could mean an appearance next Saturday at Arizona following this week’s bye.
“Like I said I’m cleared so if they want to use me this next week I’ll be ready,” Bradford said. “I’m going to play in four games so if it’s not that then you’ll see me in the Washington game.”
Bradford had hopes of getting back much sooner but the injury never healed as they had hoped. By the time the Stanford game, the fourth of the season, rolled around, the idea of potentially redshirting began to become more of a reality.
Bradford could call it a career after those four games and he said he will talk with coach Jonathan Smith about his options following the season. But he said he “definitely” wants to return next season.
“This isn’t the way I want to end my career here,” he said. “I want to play more than four games so I’m looking forward to the future.”
The Beavers (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) have certainly missed having Bradford in the lineup.
One of those areas is his experience, offensive coordinator Brian Lindgren said. But that’s not the only one.
“We put him at outside receiver, moved him inside and were able to create some more explosive plays with him,” Lindgren said. “But most of all I think it’s just his experience in our system and experience playing in the Pac-12. We have some other guys that are capable and I think they are coming along (but) they just don’t have as much experience yet.”
Added fellow receiver Isaiah Hodgins, who has more than picked up the slack with 56 catches for 745 yards and 10 touchdowns through seven games: “Trevon just always brings that big-play ability. He can turn a 3-yard catch into a 20- to 50-yard catch any time. It’s definitely something that we miss.”
Bradford said being able to play in the last four games would help his confidence going into next year.
While he has been out, Bradford has tried to remain as much a part of the team as before and attends all meetings and activities. He has been more than happy to help the younger receivers when they ask.
“I know it could be really hard when it’s your senior season and you have to redshirt now because of an injury, but he has done a good job of keeping his head up and giving his all for the team and being all in,” Hodgins said. “That’s definitely a teammate that we all strive for everyone to be like. He’s definitely a leader and someone I look up to and someone I think everyone should look up to, especially when you’re in a situation like that.”
Being a senior in some ways has made the injury easier to deal with, Bradford said.
“I’ve played in games so I know what I’m capable of,” he said. “Had I been young when this happened, like I said injuries mess with your mental (state). I’m just glad I’ve been able to play and show my abilities so that way injuries like this don’t necessarily hold me back too much.”