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Iosefa’s good to go on 2-game road trip

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Whether running back Joey Iosefa can go the distance is a matter of faith and medicine, but physically he will make the team’s 10-day, two-game road trip.

Head coach Norm Chow said Iosefa will be on the 64-man travel roster when the Rainbow Warriors depart this afternoon. They play Utah State on Saturday and Navy on Nov. 9.

Iosefa has been limited to one series this season because of an injury to his left foot. He suffered a fracture while training in July.

He returned for UH’s third game, against Nevada on Sept. 28, but left after carrying twice for 4 yards and catching a 2-yard pass. After that, he underwent a procedure in which a screw was inserted into his left foot.

"We got good word (on Tuesday) the foot is healed," Chow said.

Chow said there was some inflammation near the screw’s location.

"We’ll take it day-by-day," Chow said.

But Chow said Iosefa definitely will make the trip.

The Mountain West Conference limits travel rosters to 64 players for league games. There is no limit for an inter-conference game, such as the UH-Navy matchup. But Chow said UH’s financial constraints prevent additional players from joining for the Navy game unless they are summoned as injury replacements.

"There are others who deserve to go because it’s a nice trip," Chow said. "But we can’t, we just can’t (invite more)."

Iosefa’s roster inclusion underscores his improved health and the Warriors’ rushing struggles. UH is ranked 120th nationally with an average of 75.3 rushing yards per game.

Chris Wiesehan, who coaches the UH running backs, said Iosefa supplies "positive energy. He plays hard, and he brings people with him when he does."

Iosefa refused to speculate whether he should have had the operation during the summer instead of trying to allow the foot to heal only through physical therapy.

"Things happen," Iosefa said.

He conceded: "It was frustrating, tough, to see everybody out there working. I wanted to find a way to get back out there and help the team."

Iosefa said he maintained his conditioning by riding the stationary bike, swimming and doing cardio workouts. Iosefa said he weighs 242 pounds, a pound lighter than his pre-injury weight.

"As hard as it’s been for him to stand and watch, because he’s such a competitive guy, he’s also grown a lot and put things into perspective," Wiesehan said. "He’s also seen a lot of errors that are correctable. He’s grown as a player that way. He’s become a second coach on the field."

Bubba stays home

Kickoff returner Bubba Poueu-Luna continues to struggle with a pulled right hamstring and will not make the road trip.

It was a disappointing setback for Poueu-Luna, who had just earned the returner’s job after three injury-filled years at UH.

Diocemy Saint Juste or Kwamane Bowens will be the deep kickoff returners.

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