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UCLA FYI

Kevin Prince eyes Oregon game for return

Bruins quarterback expects broken jaw to be healed in time for Oct. 10 matchup against the Ducks.

September 23, 2009|Chris Foster

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince is pretty certain.

"Oregon is the plan," Prince said through clinched jaw, wired shut the last week. "I can do everything but eat."

Prince, who suffered a fractured jaw against Tennessee, will sit out the Stanford game Oct. 3 but said that doctors are sure he will be ready to practice before the Oct. 10 game against Oregon.

"If he's cleared, he has obviously got to play," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. "He's been throwing the ball. He's been in all the meetings. He's our starting quarterback."

Prince limbered up his arm during practice Tuesday, throwing passes in non-contact drills. He has been running and participating in other off-the-field workouts as well.

Prince was expected to be out three to four weeks after being injured on a surprise rollout in the end zone on a third-and-nine play with less than two minutes left and UCLA ahead, 19-13. The Oregon game would be four weeks to the day.

"If his cardiovascular stays up, there is no reason to think he won't be ready by Oregon," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

In the meantime, Kevin Craft is scheduled to make his second consecutive start against Stanford.

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Back in action

Cornerback Courtney Viney, one of four players suspended for the Kansas State game, has been reinstated but spent most of practice working with the second team. Freshman Sheldon Price, who started against Kansas State, was with the first team.

Their competition may be moot soon enough. Aaron Hester, the starter until suffering a fractured right fibula, was back in uniform though he did not practice.

Hester underwent an X-ray Monday, which showed that the bone had healed.

"They called me and told me I could stop using my crutches, so I put them down right where I was and walked away from them," Hester said.

Hester has started workouts that put pressure on his leg and will rejoin practice next week, though Neuheisel said he still expected Hester back "by mid-October."

Meanwhile, Viney will go about trying to re-establish himself at cornerback.

"I just have to keep coming to work each day," Viney said. "Every time I step on the field, I feel I have to prove myself."

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Hasiak's day off

Freshman guard Stanley Hasiak did not play Saturday because "I wanted to slow him down," Neuheisel said.

Hasiak had played the first two games, and had worked through last week sharing the right guard spot with junior Eddie Williams. But he remained on the sideline against Kansas State.

Said Neuheisel: "I want him to be a freshman, and enjoy being a freshman and stop trying to make it all happen so fast."

Tackle Xavier Su'a-Filo, also a freshman, did not get the same stop-and-smell-the-roses talk. Hasiak has had a handful of tense confrontations with defensive players after plays during practice in recent weeks.

Neuheisel said "that was not the reason" Hasiak didn't play. But he did say, "Stan is a very, very proud person, who wants desperately to compete and be as good as anybody in the country. You got to embrace that, cherish that."

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Quick hits

Guard Jeff Baca sat out practice because of pink eye. In his absence, Darius Savage alternated with Williams and Hasiak at guard. . . . Guard Nick Ekbatani (knee), tailback Christian Ramirez (ankle) and wide receiver Gavin Ketchum (hamstring) went through workouts, but Neuheisel said "I'm told we're close on those guys."

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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