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UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson appears increasingly likely to play against Utah

UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is brought down for a loss by Oregon defensive end Brandon Dorius
UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is brought down for a loss by Oregon defensive end Brandon Dorius at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Dorian Thompson-Robinson has mastered a different sort of progressions this week.

After not throwing one pass Monday during the portion of practice open to the media, the UCLA quarterback attempted one pass during that span Tuesday as he continued his recovery from an apparent injury to his throwing hand.

On Wednesday, Thompson-Robinson was a full participant in the early going of practice. He continued to wear a white wrap around his right hand but did not appear limited in his throwing. He hit receivers Logan Loya and Chase Cota in stride 20 yards down the field before dialing it up and completing passes from about 30 yards.

UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn’t throw during the portion of practice open to reporters two days after leaving a game with an apparent injury.

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Reporters are allowed to watch only about the first 20 minutes of practice.

Predictably, UCLA coach Chip Kelly provided no clarity before practice Wednesday on Thompson-Robinson’s status with the Bruins preparing to face Utah on Saturday night at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.

Reporter: “Is [Thompson-Robinson] available to throw passes?”

Kelly: “He’s available.”

Reporter: “How’s he progressing in his recovery?”

Kelly: “He’s doing a great job.”

Reporter: “Do you expect him to throw passes today?”

Kelly: “He’s available.”

UCLA was hoping to make a statement with a win against No. 10 Oregon before its furious comeback ended on a last-minute interception.

Thompson-Robinson was injured on UCLA’s final drive during its 34-31 loss to Oregon last weekend. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Ethan Garbers, who would make the start against Utah if Thompson-Robinson is unable to play.

A UCLA backup quarterback has not won his first start since Richard Brehaut helped the Bruins defeat Washington State on Oct. 2, 2010.

Kelly said he would not have to alter his game plan if Garbers were the starting quarterback.

“Ethan can run our whole offense and we grasp the whole thing that Ethan can do and Ethan and Dorian are very similar,” Kelly said.

Kelly said Garbers’ running ability matched that of Thompson-Robinson, one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks on the West Coast, noting that Garbers’ older brother, Chase, was the all-time leading rusher among quarterbacks at California.

“Garbers are good athletes,” Kelly said, “so don’t underestimate them.”

Kelly then added, facetiously, “Sleep on him; he’s not a good rusher.”


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