BOCA RATON, Fla. - The rest between Temple's 24-13 loss at Houston on Dec. 5 in the American Athletic Conference championship and Tuesday's Boca Raton Bowl against Toledo will clearly benefit Temple running back Jahad Thomas.
The 5-10, 188-pound junior has rushed for 1,257 yards (4.7 avg.) and 17 touchdowns while earning first-team all-AAC honors.
Since suffering a rib injury in the eighth game of the season against Notre Dame, he had been less than 100 percent.
Thomas hasn't missed any time since the Notre Dame game, but he also rushed for more than 70 yards just once since. That came when he had 119 yards on 20 carries (including a 60-yard scoring run) in a 27-3 win over Connecticut.
Thomas and his teammates had some time off after the AAC title game and now he is enjoying being in the warm climate, with each day a chance to get healthier. However he won't get a chance to be at full strength until after the season.
"I am feeling pretty good, I am still not 100 percent but I am feeling the best I felt in weeks," Thomas said before a Sunday morning practice.
Predictably, Thomas talked about the difficulty he experienced in attempting to play with his injury.
"It definitely wasn't easy," he said. "I was getting treatment twice a day and doing the necessary things I needed to do to play, to get back to at least feeling well enough to play."
He also said that he used extra padding on the ribs.
"If I would get tackled or would fall on it, then it would take some of the pressure and pain off," he said about the padding. "I did those things and fortunately I am glad it wasn't severe and didn't get any worse."
So Thomas is looking forward to Tuesday's game when Temple (10-3) meets the 9-2 Rockets.
"Just being able to have another opportunity to play and being able to feel like myself is great," he said. "You know you are going out there and not having to worry about injury or pain."
Now he says he has one simple task. "Just go out there and play my best."