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UCLA REPORT

A Gimpy Gesser Could Face UCLA

November 28, 2002|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

Jason Gesser has more than an ankle sprain, which should give UCLA a greater chance to win its regular-season finale Dec. 7.

The Washington State quarterback is among the nation's most dangerous players when sound. But his ability to scramble will be severely compromised -- if he is able to play.

"Ligaments are messed up in my ankle," Gesser said. "It's a high ankle sprain combined with something else. I really don't know.

"[Doctors] are still doing a lot of tests on me, waiting for the swelling to go down to see a lot of the things they want to see. Once the swelling gets out, they can do more tests on it and see what really is wrong."

Gesser, who has passed for 2,922 yards and 25 touchdowns, was injured during the Cougars' triple-overtime loss to Washington on Saturday.

"A lot of guys are saying it is a two- to six-week thing, from 20 days to 35 days," he said. "I'm still in limbo over what the whole verdict is going to be."

UCLA knows that should Gesser play, he would be forced to utilize the shotgun formation on most pass plays.

"They wouldn't be able to use certain formations," Bruin Coach Bob Toledo said. "But they go from the shotgun a lot, anyway. His ability to elude people is what makes him special, and he might lose some of that."

The backup is Matt Kegel, who has completed 26 of 39 passes for 203 yards.

"He's a terrific passer and he's going to be our quarterback next year, anyway," Cougar Coach Mike Price said.

Gesser isn't the only key Cougar injured. Jermaine Green, the Cougars' leading rusher, is questionable because of a groin injury.

*

Objections from the victim's family delayed a possible plea bargain in C.J. Niusulu's felony battery case in Barstow. A trial date will be set unless the freshman defensive tackle reaches an agreement with prosecutors by Dec. 17.

The district attorney's office is eager to reach an agreement on misdemeanor battery, which would allow Niusulu to remain on scholarship at UCLA. But the family of Danny Walker is resistant.

Niusulu punched Walker in the face in July at a Barstow drive-in theater. Walker, a ticket-taker at the drive-in, suffered a broken jaw and broken nose. Niusulu, who played well as a reserve in five games, underwent an appendectomy last week and is out for the season.

*

UCLA is off until Monday.

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