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Spaulding Roundup: Sobering Notes

We have some sobering news to pass on from Spaulding on this Humpday. We will start with a note that is somewhat positive. Sonny Tevaga is back in practice and he is insisting that he is committed to focusing on UCLA football:

UCLA offensive lineman Sonny Tevaga returned to practice Tuesday insisting that he has an improved attitude about football. […]

"Just walking around slumped, you know what I mean?" Tevaga said. "Just having a bad attitude."

Tevaga started the first two games of the season at right guard and played much of the Oregon State game as a replacement for Nick Ekbatani. He said that UCLA's losing record affected him.

Apparently, watching the team win on television in his apartment -- "It was a very sad weekend," he said -- served as a remedy. On Tuesday, he persuaded Neuheisel that he still wanted to play.

Asked if he saw himself at UCLA long-term, Tevaga replied: "I'm a Bruin. This is where I wanted to go since I was little."

The immediate future is less certain in that coaches have not decided whether Tevaga will accompany the team to Arizona State on Nov. 28. "I'm going to watch his performance in all facets of the program," Neuheisel said.

We will know by next Friday whether Tevaga has been focused and working hard during practices. Meanwhile, another player coaches are keeping a very close eye on is Chinonso Anyanwu, who has been diagnosed with Crohn's disease. From Dohn:

UCLA junior Chinonso Anyanwu, a key contributor on special teams and a backup linebacker and defensive end, could miss the rest of the season after being diagnosed with Crohn's disease.

He was hospitalized three weeks ago after complaining about stomach cramps and experiencing pain in his joints. He said he received the diagnosis Thursday.

"It's scary," said Anyanwu, who has been a spectator at practice for the past week. "They didn't know what was wrong at first. They had a few ideas, but they took a bunch of blood from me."

Chron's disease affects the digestive system, and can cause pain in the abdomen as well as vomiting and weight loss. Anyanwu said he lost nearly 20 pounds in a week, and was down to 202 pounds. He has since gained 11 pounds, but the disease can also cause complications with arthritis and rashes, and he said both experienced both.

"My ankles started to hurt and I thought it was from practice, and my knees started hurting, too, and I had a weird rash," Anyanwu, 21, said. "I rubbed (the ankles) to feel better, but after sitting there for a while, after I got up, I couldn't walk. I had to be wheeled around because it hurt so much to walk."

Chinonso is understandably taking it a little easy. The good news is that this condition might not be a career-ender:

Anyanwu said he took comfort in knowing Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback David Garrard suffers from Crohn's disease, and still plays football. He added he hoped it would not end his football career.

"We still don't know what that means to his future," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It doesn't sound as though it's a career-ender."

And speaking of career-ending, it is over for Ben Olson:

A career that began with so much promise for UCLA's future likely ended during a meeting in UCLA's training room Tuesday when senior quarterback Ben Olson was told by a team doctor a recent CT scan showed his broken right foot is not yet healed.

A discouraged Olson heard the news after watching most of practice.

He was hoping to take reps this week and play Nov.28 at Arizona State. The Bruins (4-6) finish the regular season Dec. 6 against USC, and need to win both games to get to a bowl game.

"They don't know for sure (how long before it will heal)," Olson said. "It looks better than it did a few weeks ago. It's healing, just slower than I would like."

Olson, who was the top-rated prep quarterback out of Thousand Oaks High in 2002 class, has been injured much of his career.

After transferring from BYU to UCLA for the 2005 season, Olson missed games because of a broken thumb, a concussion, a couple of knee injuries and the foot, which he broke twice. He has not played this season.

"It's disappointing," Olson said. "The whole time I've been here I feel like I've been saying the same thing. I don't know why things have happened like they have. I don't know why things have worked out like they have."

He would most likely not qualify for a red shirt next year and he is not going to try.

At this point I think all we can do is thank Ben for being a Bruin. Let’s hope no other kid in college football ever goes through what he has endured since his arrival in Westwood. Hopefully he is going to succeed in whatever he pursues after college with his degree from UCLA. I will be rooting for him. Thanks again Ben.