UCLA left tackle Micah Kia appears to be moving toward starting against Tennessee on Monday night, less than two weeks after breaking his left hand.
Kia, one of two Bruins' linemen with game experience, went through a second day of workouts, using a smaller cast on the hand that allowed it more freedom.
"If the coaches need me, I'm ready," Kia said. "It feels good."
Kia's cast had restricted the use of his fingers. It was cut to cover only the lower part of his hand.
"I can use my hand blocking," Kia said. "Before, all I could do was poke people. There's not much pain, only some stiffness."
Having Kia, who started eight games last season, would improve the situation on the line. Brandon Bennett, a sophomore who has no game experience, had been playing left tackle while Kia was out.
"Micah Kia had a shaved-down version of the cast today and I think he was more functional," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Hopefully we'll get good news about the healing process and he'll be able to take it down a notch further."
While line coach Bob Palcic has mixed and matched the linemen throughout training camp, he will prefer to settle on one group for the game.
"There may be seven or eight guys that can be starters, but I'm not into subbing guys unless I see someone having difficulty," Palcic said. "That's a position, more than anywhere else, that there has to be a cohesiveness."
Depth chart thins
UCLA now has more quarterbacks injured than healthy. Freshman Nick Crissman underwent an MRI exam on his right throwing shoulder Wednesday after being hit while throwing passes as the scout team's quarterback Tuesday.
The Bruins are without Osaar Rasshan, who is nursing a sore knee; Ben Olson, out six more weeks because of a broken bone in his foot, and Patrick Cowan, out for the season because of a knee injury.
"It's the darnedest thing I have ever seen, the attrition rate we have at quarterback," Neuheisel said. "They're almost asking me to come back."
Freshman Kevin Prince, who is to be the third-string quarterback against Tennessee, took over running the scout team Wednesday.
More training room news
Center Kai Maiava, a redshirt, is believed to have a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee, Neuheisel said. . . . Wide receiver Marcus Everett returned to drills Tuesday, a day after sitting out because of a sore knee.
vs. No. 18 Tennessee
Monday, the Rose Bowl,
5 p.m., ESPN