Several UCLA players had tears in their eyes after the 27-0 loss to USC on Nov. 18. Although receiver Ryan Smith felt the sting of the defeat as much as anyone, he cried for another reason.
His left ankle hurt like mad.
The ankle had bothered him for three weeks and it was the second game in a row he had been injected with pain medication in order to play. Each week the pain intensified when the medication wore off.
He told his parents he wouldn't take another shot, but after practicing Monday he began to entertain the idea again. An MRI revealed no damage and team doctors said he would not be risking permanent damage by playing.
But Wednesday the ankle hurt so much during class that he called trainers to bring a cart for him. Smith reevaluated.
"No more shots, that's for sure," he said, leaning on crutches after practice. "At this point, it's not worth it."
Smith, a sophomore, has 18 catches for 272 yards and two touchdowns. That will be all unless he is ready for a bowl game.
"Ryan is so competitive he will go out there in severe pain," receivers coach Ron Caragher said. "The decision is left up to the player and the doctor, but I've seen him in too much pain."
Tab Perry will return at receiver after missing two games because of broken ribs and a collapsed lung suffered against Washington State. The sophomore spent six days in a Pullman, Wash., hospital and has yet to participate in contact drills.
"I was lying in that hospital with a tube in my chest thinking that just two days ago I was on top of the world," he said. "But now it feels good. I'm real lucky."
Suspended tailback DeShaun Foster is expected to be among the 23 Bruin seniors introduced Saturday before their last game at the Rose Bowl. Foster did not attend the first two games he sat out after being declared ineligible by the NCAA on Nov. 7. Foster's appeal will be heard today by an NCAA committee.