Rutgers dealing with devastating injury

NEWARK, N.J. — A couple of extra days off could not have come at a better time for Rutgers' football team.

With 10 days between games, the Scarlet Knights will get some down time to deal with the devastating injury that left teammate Eric LeGrand paralyzed from the neck down and to gather themselves after a disappointing 41-21 loss to Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Coach Greg Schiano did not update LeGrand's condition Sunday during a conference call, but the junior defensive tackle was able to watch the game from his room at Hackensack University Medical Center. LeGrand's condition has not changed since he was injured making a tackle on a kickoff return against Army on Oct. 16, Schiano said after Saturday's loss at Pittsburgh.

Schiano had been planning to give his team some time off during this period as soon as the schedule came out. Still, he said it comes at a perfect time.

"We're not going to be totally separated from one another," Schiano said Sunday, "but it will give guys a chance to catch their breath."

A win would have let the players really enjoy the rest, but Pittsburgh was clearly the better team on Saturday.

"That doesn't change the situation," Schiano said. "Right now, physically and emotionally, I think it is good for the guys to just catch their breath, and when we work, it's time to work and it's time to get better."

The word "believe" has become the team motto for Rutgers (4-3, 1-1 Big East) since LeGrand's injury. To a man, they believe the 20-year-old Avenel resident will walk again.

Schiano also believes his team will rebound, and the people in the program make him believe.

"We have been through tough times before and we have tough people here," Schiano said.

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