MADISON, Wis. – 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 left knee injury that came from a hit last week against Ohio State, and that he'd be ready to play this weekend if the Badgers had a game.
"It looked pretty bad, let's just say that," Gordon said.
Trainers worked on him and he was 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 Gordon.
"I'm feeling pretty good," he 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 seven points or less.
Gordon seemed on track for a fifth-straight 100-yard game before 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 haunted Wisconsin again in another tight game.
"When there's 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 for 295 yards passing 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 to take advantage. 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 eager 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."
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP