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Injury will sideline Josh Smith

UCLA junior receiver Josh Smith will miss the rest of spring practice after an MRI revealed a tear in the posterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He is expected to return in time to play in the season opener against Kansas State.

Smith must decide whether to undergo surgery for the injury, which he suffered this week. Coach Rick Neuheisel said treatment typically involves only rehabilitation and the wearing of a protective brace.

“Right now I don’t know a whole lot of the details,” Smith said after practice Thursday. “I’m on the way to see the doctor.”

Smith said he felt occasional pain in his knee. Though Smith won’t return until fall camp, Neuheisel said it was important that he “makes sure he stays into the playbook” after participating in a handful of spring practices and sitting out last season following his transfer from Colorado.

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Trading places

Playing his third position in three years, defensive tackle Nate Chandler might have finally found a home.

“I feel like this is the place for me,” said Chandler, who has also played tight end and offensive tackle.

The Bruins moved the 6-foot-5, 291-pound junior to capitalize on his size and athleticism and to add depth at the position after the departures of defensive tackles Brian Price, Jerzy Siewierski and Jess Ward.

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Defensive line coach Todd Howard said Chandler could emulate Johnny Howard, a former teammate at Texas A&M; who came to college as a quarterback, switched to linebacker and starred at that position for seven seasons in the NFL.

Quick hits

Linebacker Taniela Maka said he had been cleared by the NCAA and would sign a grant-in-aid that would allow him to join the Bruins in August after achieving a qualifying score on a standardized entrance exam. ... In his first practice since being sidelined by a concussion, receiver Taylor Embree made several catches. ... Center Kai Maiava (right shoulder strain) participated in limited drills and is expected to resume full contact by Tuesday. ... Tight end Joseph Fauria (groin) practiced before being removed for precautionary reasons.

ben.bolch@latimes.com

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Times staff writer Chris Foster contributed to this report.


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