The day that quarterback Kevin Prince had waited for, and the UCLA offense seemed to need, arrived.
A little more than three weeks after suffering a fractured jaw, Prince rejoined the first team and spent the entire practice getting reacquainted with teammates and the offense. He capped the day by completing three of four passes during a two-minute drill.
"My rhythm and timing were a little off," Prince said. "I missed some throws that I really shouldn't miss and don't want to miss ever." But, he said, "It should come back pretty quickly."
By Saturday, the Bruins hope.
Prince will have a final X-ray today and, if cleared, he is expected to start Saturday against Oregon. He underwent an X-ray on Monday, but it was not seen by his doctor.
"You could still see a little bit of the fracture," Prince said. "I don't know what it's supposed to look like three weeks after the fact. All I can tell you is that it's feeling better."
Better probably will be enough. The jaw, which was fractured in two places, will not be completely healed for at least two more weeks. But Prince will wear a helmet that covers more of the jaw area and was fitted for a special mouthpiece for his lower teeth.
Prince is back eating meals, with nearly all the rubber bands removed from his mouth. He lost about five pounds while his mouth was wired shut.
Prince struggled a little during practice, but "by the end of practice, it was coming back," he said.
"[Today] will be better and by Thursday, I should be ready if the coaches decide that's the way they want to go."
Coach Rick Neuheisel expects to be leaning that way. The Bruins' offense was sluggish against Kansas State and Stanford with Kevin Craft at quarterback.
"I'll have to wait and see what the X-rays say [today], but I think he's ready to play," Neuheisel said, adding, "I want to look at the tape. But he will definitely be available to play."
Everything's not Ducky
Oregon has its own quarterback issues, though it's nothing Coach Chip Kelly will admit.
Jeremiah Masoli sat out practice a second day because of a knee injury suffered in Saturday's game against Washington State.
"We don't talk about injuries," Kelly said. "You are either out or you're day-to-day."
Call Masoli day-to-day.
Nate Costa stepped in at quarterback against Washington State and Kelly said, "They are similar. Jeremiah has got more experience. . . . But they are similar size. Both are physical. Both have quick releases and strong arms."
Oregon lost starting cornerback Willie Glasper for the season when he injured his knee during practice Tuesday. He had been starting for Walter Thurmond III, who is also out for the season because of a knee injury.
Bruins safety Rahim Moore, who left Saturday's game because of a concussion, participated in practice, but was wearing a red no-contact jersey. He said he would play Saturday. . . . Starting cornerback Alterraun Verner and reserve fullback Tobi Umodu sat out practice because of flu. . . . Cornerback Aaron Hester's fractured fibula has healed, according to X-rays, and he resumed running Tuesday. . . . Safety Stan McKay and tackle Brandon Bennett left practice because of sprained knees.