He spends his practices in the training room with ice on his swollen right knee, which is just another problem in a season of problems.
So will Sharmon Shah fold up his game this season and ask the Pacific 10 Conference for a medical-hardship redshirt designation that would allow him to be a UCLA sophomore in 1994? He says "probably," and then says he hopes he can play again soon.
Shah's knees have been a source of concern since he tore cartilage in his left knee, requiring arthroscopic surgery in early August. His return was marred by tendinitis in the other knee, the result, he said, of a congenital condition in which his tendons are out of line.
He rushed for 188 yards in 40 carries at Stanford, playing on less practice time because of the knees, and started at San Diego State. Four carries and 17 yards into the first series, he made a cut that has rendered the right knee swollen since.
"They don't know what it is," he said. "They might have to do arthroscopic surgery to find out. All they say is to wait for the swelling to go down and then run on it, to see if it swells again."
In the meantime, he sits and waits with the understanding that if he gets well enough to play one more down this season, it will cost him an entire year of eligibility.
Though the weekly depth chart does not reflect it, Rob Walker has been taking snaps as the second-string quarterback. . . . UCLA defensive coordinator Bob Field preaches the gospel of stopping the run as the key to defense, saying: "The key defensive statistic is rushing defense. The second is scoring defense." The Bruins have scaled their defense accordingly, giving up only two rushing touchdowns all season. They gave up only 63 rushing yards in road victories against Stanford and San Diego State. . . . Outside linebacker Jamir Miller missed Wednesday's practice because of flu.