In three seasons playing for UCLA, linebacker Spencer Havner has been a tackling machine with 288 stops. His secret has been his ability to play through pain.
“The hardest part is getting yourself mentally ready, instead of thinking about what hurts,” said Havner, who has played the last two weeks with an injured right hand and wore a protective cover in practice on Wednesday. “You just focus on playing. I try not to think about injuries, but sometimes that’s tough.”
Havner has had his share of injuries at UCLA, ranging from a shoulder sprain to a broken hand, but none serious enough to sideline him. “I’ve been kind of lucky, I guess,” he said. “I’ve just been getting little nicks.”
Two weeks ago, Havner injured his hand against Stanford when he tried to break up a pass. He never missed a play. In Saturday’s loss to Washington State, Havner again played the entire game, but his hand injury was more painful, which is why he’s wearing a soft cast this week.
“I don’t know why, but it hurt more,” Havner said. “Maybe it was because of the adrenaline from playing in the game when it first happened and that’s why I didn’t really feel it against Stanford. But it hurt last week.”
Center Mike McCloskey, who did not play against Washington State because of post-concussion symptoms, returned to practice and will play at Oregon on Saturday.
“When it first happened, I had headaches all day long,” McCloskey said. “That first week, the headaches were real bad and they were intensified by light. I suffered with confusion and some memory loss.
“But within the last week, everything has returned back to normal.”
Coach Karl Dorrell says offensive tackle Ed Blanton, also recovering from a concussion, has improved and will play against the Ducks.
Blanton, injured against Washington State, did some running in practice Wednesday.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis, who suffered a bruised tailbone on Saturday, wore pads Wednesday but was held out of contact drills.... Running back Maurice Drew did not practice, but his ankle injury has improved and he’s listed as questionable.... Safety Jarrad Page did not practice because of a foot sprain suffered Tuesday. Dorrell said he expects Page to play Saturday.... Quarterback recruit Ben Olson, a former standout at Thousand Oaks High and a Brigham Young redshirt, visited practice and spent at least 20 minutes talking to Dorrell during the workout.