It just hasn’t been a feel-good story
The remaining bits and pieces of UCLA’s football team took the practice field Tuesday, with the Bruins technically still in charge of whether they win the Pacific 10 Conference.
Then linebacker Reggie Carter hit the ground in pain, and running back Chris Markey sat out drills, and defensive tackle Brigham Harwell said he wouldn’t return this week.
The puzzle that Coach Karl Dorrell faces in putting together a lineup seems to change by the minute.
Carter was hit by teammate Kyle Bosworth and rolled on the ground grasping his right knee, on which he had arthroscopic surgery four weeks ago. He recovered and finished practice, but it was another reminder how fragile the Bruins are at this point.
"[Doctors] told me if I wanted to be completely healthy, then I should have sat down for three weeks,” Carter said. “I got to wait for the season to be over and slowly let it heal.”
Other Bruins are in the same situation.
Harwell, who injured his knee against Brigham Young two months ago, has been trying to get ready, but said, “to tell you the truth, I don’t know what is realistic right now. I’m just trying to get back healthy.”
Markey, who has a toe injury on his left foot and a sprained right ankle, was limited in practice because, “we have other guys that need the reps because they haven’t had any reps and we’re trying to get them caught up with what we’re doing,” Dorrell said.
The Bruins are without quarterbacks Patrick Cowan (concussion, collapsed lung) and Ben Olson (knee). Leading rusher Kahlil Bell (knee) is done for the season and tailback Christian Ramirez (concussion) is out. Wide receiver Marcus Everett (ankle) is also probably out for the season.
While the Bruins’ season seemed to teeter before the majority of the injuries occurred -- they were nearly completely healthy in a 44-6 loss to Utah on Sept. 15 -- the loss of key people has accelerated the descent. UCLA has lost three of its last four games.
“There are over 100 guys on this team, when someone falls down, you got to trust the next guy to step in and play just as well,” Carter said.
Still, Carter admitted, “you sometimes think of all the high expectations you had at the beginning of the year, with all the guys we had returning. Then all of a sudden, you noticed that, ‘Wow, there are seven, eight, nine guys who aren’t playing who were starters.’ ”
All of which has become a bit unmanageable.
“It’s outside the coach’s jurisdiction,” Dorrell said. “The medical staff and trainers and doctors say when a kid can’t play. Even I say I want him to play, they make the determination on those things.
“We have to play with whoever is still available. I don’t mean that to be a negative way to the guys who have been playing. They are getting chance to showcase what they can do.”
Chane Moline and Craig Sheppard did most of the work at tailback during practice. . . . Olson did individual drills Tuesday with the hope he can be ready for the Oregon game Nov. 24. Cowan, who was injured in the 34-27 loss to Arizona, was at practice after having been driven back from Tucson. . . . Defensive tackle Jess Ward, out the last two games because of a knee injury, returned to practice and was expected to be able to play against Arizona State on Saturday.
UCLA (5-4, 4-2) vs.
Arizona State (8-1, 5-1)
Saturday, Rose Bowl,
12:30 p.m., Channel 7