MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon walked the sideline with his typical gait, as if he were taking a breather following another long touchdown.
The Big Ten's leading rusher looked this week like he was over an apparent minor left knee injury that came from a hit, and that he'd be ready to play this weekend if his team had a game.
"It looked pretty bad, let's just say that," Gordon said.
Trainers worked on him. He back up and around soon enough, raring to get back into the game.
"But they wanted to hold me out to see if everything was OK. It is," Gordon said.
The Badgers' bye week comes at an opportune time for the physical, elusive Gordon.
"I'm feeling pretty good," Gordon said. "I'm completely fine. Got lucky, dodged a bullet."
Wisconsin fans can breathe easy. Gordon (139.6 yards per game) plans to rejoin James White on Oct. 12 against Northwestern to reunite the Badgers' one-two backfield punch.
The third-year sophomore joined other veterans who got an early respite from practice Tuesday. Wisconsin is 3-2 going into the bye, with both losses coming on the road to ranked teams (Ohio State and Arizona State) by less seven points or less.
Gordon seemed on track for a fifth-straight 100-yard game when he left the game at the end of the third quarter with 15 carries for 74 yards against the tough Ohio State defense.
But mistakes, mainly by other Badgers, haunted Wisconsin again in another tight game.
"When they're a play to be made, you've got to make it. You can't jump offsides and give the other team opportunity," Gordon said in relaying coach Gary Andersen's message this week. "Giving the other team layups is basically what coach said. That's what we did."
The bright spot offensively may have been the overall play in a big game by sophomore quarterback Joel Stave, who was 20-for-34 passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Jared Abbrederis had 10 catches for 207 yards and a score, stats that might have Northwestern paying more attention to the senior next week.
If that's the case, tight end Jacob Pedersen hopes he can help draw attention away from Abbrederis. Pedersen, who is recovering from a sprained MCL in his left knee, said he could have played last week but stayed on the sideline because he wasn't as prepared given he didn't practice midweek.
Pedersen, the second-leading receiver in 2012 behind Abbrederis, might play it safer in practice for the bye week, but he's anxious to get back for Northwestern.
"Jared always gets a lot of attention," Pedersen said. "I'm anxious to get back out there, make some plays and take a safety or two off of him."