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Bruins' Olson is hurt again

Extent of the injury is unknown, but UCLA coaches are scrambling to fill the position.

August 10, 2008|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

For the second time in five months, UCLA quarterback Ben Olson took a painful ride on a cart to the locker room Saturday.

The agonizing journey came after Olson took a misstep on a fake and felt pain in his right foot. Olson suffered a broken bone in the foot on a similar play during spring practice and spent three months recovering after a screw was placed in the foot.

A UCLA official said a fluoroscope of the foot was inconclusive Saturday and that Olson would have X-rays today.

Olson's injury could make this a costly weekend for USC and UCLA. USC lost starting quarterback Mark Sanchez, who suffered a dislocated kneecap on Friday and may sit out the Trojans' opener.

Sanchez was injured throwing a pass to a teammate during warmups. Olson was injured during a similarly harmless play.

"He said he felt discomfort in the foot," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It sounded like it was the exact same thing as last spring. He was carrying out a fake. He said it was not as bad as last spring. The pain was not the same. We'll see what that means."

Olson was not available for comment.

Olson has played with pain in the foot through the first five days of camp and sat out Friday's practice to rest. The injured foot was the latest setback in his career, despite the fact he has won the UCLA starting job the past two seasons.

As a sophomore in 2006, he tore a knee ligament in the fifth game against Arizona and was lost for the season. Last season, he missed one game with concussion-like symptoms and five others because of an injured right knee.

The Bruins' quarterback situation has been a concern since spring practice. Patrick Cowan won the job, then suffered a season-ending injury during practice. Olson was then injured on the same series of plays, leaving Neuheisel and first-year offensive coordinator Norm Chow without the team's two most experienced quarterbacks for the Bruins' spring game.

But his injury could severely alter the Bruins' plans this season.

"It will change the course, no question, it has to," Neuheisel said. "But it's too early to talk about that. Norm and I and all the offensive coaches will have to sit down and develop a plan, figure out what happened and what needs to be done."

Quarterback Kevin Craft was moved in with the first team. Craft has struggled during training camp and was inconsistent again Saturday. Olson's injury resulted in increased time for redshirt freshman Chris Forcier, who received the bulk of the time with the second team.

Forcier, who attended San Diego St. Augustine High, ran the scout team last season. He can bring speed to the position.

"Norm has a method to his madness," Neuheisel said. "I usually don't get too involved. He must have thought Chris was doing well and let him stay in there and gain some confidence."

Neuheisel also said that freshmen Kevin Prince and Nick Crissman, junior Osaar Rasshan and Craft have "made plays," at quarterback.

"I don't want to get too far out over our skis," Neuheisel said. "We want to wait and see what happened [with Olson]."

But he did add, "We got to keep chugging along, as the sands drifts through the hourglass we've got to make some decisions. We'll just have to wait and see what those decisions are when we have all the information."

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Scott Glicksberg, projected as the Bruins' starting right guard, was unable to practice again Saturday, sitting out with what he said was a "stomach problem." He has not practiced since the second day of training camp.

"I was feeling dehydrated the first couple days," Glicksberg said. "I wasn't sick or anything, but there was something going on with my stomach. I couldn't hold anything down. I saw 100 million doctors and they haven't quite figured it out. They put me on some medicine so I can hold liquid down."

Glicksberg, who had beefed up to 300 pounds in his transition from tight end to guard, said he has lost "five to seven pounds" while out.

Defensive tackles Brian Price and Jerzy Siewierski sat out practice as a precaution, Neuheisel said. Terrence Austin, who sat out Friday with a sore foot, returned to practice Saturday.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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