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Carter Is Close to Returning

UCLA REPORT

October 10, 2003|Eric Stephens | Times Staff Writer

While the Bruins are relatively injury-free heading into Saturday's game at Arizona, they got some encouraging news.

Tight end Keith Carter could play for the first time this season after undergoing surgery on his left hip in April. Carter was in a motorcycle accident on the San Diego Freeway and the injury sidelined him for the remainder of spring practice.

"The doctors did mention that he's had a good week of practice, a clean week," Coach Karl Dorrell said Thursday. "We might give him a few plays in the game. That was very encouraging news. It's a big positive step for him."

The accident caused serious concern initially. Carter, a redshirt sophomore, started three games last season.

"We all were concerned because we didn't know what type of injury it was," Dorrell said. "[Doctors] said he dislocated his hip. There's two ways to look at that. Either you don't get a chance to play again or you walk again and other stuff like that but you don't know if you can be the athlete that you were.

"We didn't know the extent of the injury. After they did the surgery and the prognosis was a full recovery, we were very pleased."

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Strong safety Jarrad Page will not travel to Tucson. The sophomore's sprained right shoulder didn't show any improvement overnight.

Senior Kevin Brant will start in Page's place.

It will be the second start for Brant and his first since 2001 against Oregon State.

Freshman Eric McNeal will back up Brant. Nnamdi Oheari and Keith Short expect to play in extra defensive back packages.

For the 6-foot-2, 210-pound McNeal, it could be the first extensive action in the secondary after playing mostly on special teams.

"He's going to get his opportunity to do some things for us," Dorrell said. "He's done a nice job on special teams."

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Free safety Ben Emanuel, who suffered a mild concussion in the Washington game, was cleared to participate in contact drills Thursday and will start.... Inside linebackers Brandon Chillar and Justin London have nagging injuries but participated in full workouts.... Defensive end Dave Ball is one half-sack away from passing Jamir Miller on the career list. Miller had 23.5 from 1991 to '93.... Freshman Kris Heavner will start at quarterback for Arizona. Ryan O'Hara, a redshirt freshman from Pasadena Muir High, and sophomore Nic Costa had split time in the first four games, but Heavner has started the last two.

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