Ralph Bolden won't be the only projected starter to miss Purdue's season opener.
Coach Danny Hope said Monday defensive tackle Kevin Pamphile, a redshirt freshman, recently had foot surgery and could be out until the Big Ten opener.
Pamphile was slated as No. 1 on the depth chart in the team's media guide to replace Mike Neal, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers.
"He'll come back in and be able to help us and have a healthy, fresh body and a healthy, fresh set of legs as we get into the stretch of Big Ten play," Hope said.
Without Pamphile in the lineup, the Boilermakers have two more redshirt freshmen, Justin Kitchens and Brandon Taylor, to compete with incoming freshman Bruce Gaston for the starting spot opposite Kawaan Short.
Hope hasn't been able to coach Gaston yet, but he's been told by the team's strength coaches that "he's everything he was billed to be."
"He can really, really run. He's about 302 pounds and he can run 5-flat on a bad day," Hope said. "He bench presses close to 400 and can really move."
For Bolden, who tore his ACL last spring, there's no timetable for a return.
Hope said Bolden is ahead of schedule in the rehab process but has yet to be cleared to practice, so he'll only do light work when camp opens this week.
"That's one injury at a position that's the least forgiving for a quick comeback because of the sharp cuts you have to make and the physicality of playing running back and the number of people who wrap you up by your legs and twist you in different shapes and positions to get you on the ground," Hope said. "So he's ahead of schedule, but we won't know until he gets released and we can see what he can do. I'm optimistic he's going to come back fully healthy – I don't know when. We're going to see him play again. I don't know if it's going to be in a month, two months or a year."
When asked how many games would make it "worth it" to bring Bolden back, Hope said it depends on the situation.
If Purdue is primed for a spot in a good bowl game, that could warrant burning the redshirt on Bolden, Hope said.
"We'll do what we have to do to win," said Hope, after referencing pulling Al-Terek McBurse's redshirt late last season.