Robert Marve isn't guaranteeing a comeback this season from yet another major knee injury.
Or is he?
“I'm going to come back,” the Purdue senior quarterback said. “That's my mindset. I get here early. I stay late. I rehab all day.
“I want to come back so bad. I'll do anything possible. I know if I make it back it will be a blessing. Hopefully I'll be back faster than everyone thinks.”
A damaged ACL to a twice surgically repaired left knee has sidelined Marve for Saturday's game against Eastern Michigan (0-2). That much is certain.
Everything else is open for discussion.
“Players come back from this -- receivers, college wrestlers,” Marve said. “It's not something that hasn't been done. My leg feels good. I can do 5-step drops and you won't be able to tell much of a difference.
“We'll make sure the swelling is gone from the knee. I won't tell myself I'm ready if I'm not. I'll push it the best way I can. When I feel I can go back out there and help the team, I will.”
Marve has been Purdue's best quarterback this season. He ranks among the Big Ten leaders in pass efficiency and passing yards per game by completing 41-of-56 passes for 414 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. And that's with sharing the job with Caleb TerBush, who was suspended for the first game because of an unspecified violation of team rules.
“I should be ready soon,” Marve said. “I don't want to sit out. I'm playing good, smart football. I don't want to get too far out of it.”
Marve was injured while being sacked in last Saturday's fourth quarter against Notre Dame. He said Sunday was a tough day emotionally, but he's bounced back.
“I'm in a lot better place mentally. I feel like I'm around my brothers. I never realized how many guys had my back. My phone blew up.”
Marve said he isn't hindered by any why-me agonizing.
“I'm past that. You've got to roll with the punches and play the cards you're dealt.”
As far as needing a third operation, Marve said, “It's not an option right now.” He's focused on finishing his sixth college season and helping Purdue vie for a Big Ten championship.
“I'm seeing we have a great chance at a Big Ten championship. I want to help as much as I can.”
Coach Danny Hope was optimistic Marve will help. Purdue (1-1) has a bye after the Eastern Michigan game, then plays Marshall before opening Big Ten play against Michigan on Oct. 6.
“He's walking very well,”Hope said. “I'm surprised at how well he looks. He'll be out for at least a couple of weeks, let the swelling go down, and then he'll have the option on whether or not he can come back. If it feels good enough from a pain management standpoint, a swelling standpoint, he can brace it up and play.
“There is a significant ACL tear, but there have been guys in the past who have played in a similar situation. He'd have to be braced up.
“It will be up to Robert as far as when he can get back and start getting some reps and how he feels, but he's very determined. He's a real warrior.”
TerBush is set to start on Saturday, with Rob Henry taking over backup quarterback duties. The three-quarterback rotation is down to two -- for one game at least.
“That could be potentially the epitome of a dual-quarterback system, two quarterbacks in the same huddle at the same time, both with the potential to be passing quarterbacks and running quarterbacks, and one of them (Henry) being one of the fastest guys on our team,” Hope said.
“Where we're at in the evolution of that, and where we're at two weeks from now or four weeks from now is yet to be determined, but there's some great potential there.”
Hope said he plans to play both quarterbacks on Saturday, and for the rest of the season.
“Rob brings a whole different dimension as a quarterback and as an athlete. We're always going to make an attempt to play a No. 2 quarterback so that quarterback can continue to develop and get game experience.
“If Rob performs well in practice and he looks like he's healthy and ready to go, he can play an important role in the game this weekend.”
The No. 3 quarterback while Marve is out will be redshirt freshman Austin Parker, a 5-11, 194-pounder out of Mount Vernon High School near Indianapolis.
“Austin Parker is a good player who has been in the offense and in the program for the last couple of years,” Hope said. “He's a make-it-happen guy. He manages the offense pretty well for a guy who doesn't get any more reps than what he does.
“In the last several months he's come in on his own and studied a lot of film. He's done well in the scrimmage reps he's had.”