Since we have few nicks and bruises to keep track of, thought we put all of those notes in once place. Let's start with Kevin Prince, who is going to sit out the scrimmage today with a "pulled oblique muscle." It's a back issue and not something disconcerting at all. UCLA training staff is taking the safe route as noted by Coach Rick Neuheisel following practice:
Said Neuheisel: "Trainers are like moms, 'I'm not sure he's ready to go out and play.' Coaches are like that P.E. coach with the flattop that we all had, 'Get out here, he's ready.' It's always going to be a struggle, but I trust those guys. The bottom line is they have to be ready to play three weeks from now."
Prince himself doesn't sound worried at all although he is getting anxious to get back in action.
As for the other guys, Joseph Fauria, Josh Smith, Aramide Olaniyan, Patrick Larimore and Jordon James all missed practice with various bruises. Big Joe and Smith are dealing with groin issues. Aramide has an ankle injury while James and Larimore are dealing with hamstring issues. All of them are going to miss the scrimmage today but the coaches don't sound all that worried.
Junior offensive lineman Jeff Baca (Mission Viejo High) spent Thursday's practice with a boot cast on his right leg. Baca, who started all 13 games last season at left guard, has been declared academically ineligible by the NCAA and is awaiting a ruling on his appeal of his status.
"Somebody doesn't want me to play," Baca said.
Baca did receive some good news Thursday. An MRI Thursday morning revealed that the injury is a stress reaction and not a fracture, which, Baca said, "could cut two weeks off" his recovery.
Baca said doctors are uncertain how long that recovery will take.
"We don't know yet," he said. "These things are real tricky. It all depends on how my body feels."
A tough start for Baca in 2010. First academic issues and now this. The smart thing to do for him will be to sit back, relax, take his time with his fully recovery while focusing in classroom and through mental reps during practices. He will be all right.
Let's hope all of those guys get healed up soon and eventually get back out in Spaulding. Can't blame them if they are getting anxious to join in the fun.