End Datone Jones broke his right foot in practice Monday, leaving UCLA without one of its best defensive players until at least October.
Jones was injured during an individual drill on the artificial surface at the Bruins' practice facility. He was taken to the hospital for X-rays.
"We'll have to wait and see the significance," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He just took a step, which caused the deal. He was wearing the same shoes he wears all the time, so it wasn't a shoe issue. It's one of those freak things that happen."
Jones had four sacks among 30 tackles last season. A junior, he is the line's best returning pass rusher and was expected to be a key player on a defensive line that lost three starters, including defensive tackle Brian Price, a second-round pick of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Neuheisel said that Nate Chandler probably would fill Jones' spot in the opener against Kansas State on Sept. 4.
Chandler moved from tight end to defensive tackle in the spring.
David Carter, Justin Edison and Donovan Carter will share the defensive tackle spots, with help from incoming freshmen Cassius Marsh, Wesley Flowers and Seali'i Epenesa.
Turning the corner
Only two days into practice and sophomore cornerback Aaron Hester already appears to have put last season behind him.
Hester suffered a fractured fibula in the 2009 season opener, then re-injured the leg when he returned.
This week, he has shown the skills and just-try-to-beat-me attitude that coaches feel can make him an anchor in the secondary.
"I'm just focused on playing football, doing my assignment and playing within the scheme," said Hester, who was limited to two games in 2009. "I'm an aggressive person, so my aggressiveness is going to come out sooner or later.
"I know what I got. I know I'm a big-time player. So if I can be myself everything will fall into place."
Neuheisel said, "As long as Aaron stays disciplined, taking the right angles instead of always trying to get an interception, he is going to be a very, very good player."
Anthony Jefferson, a freshman defensive back from Los Angeles Cathedral High, sat out practice Tuesday because he had not been certified to compete by the NCAA Clearinghouse....
Neuheisel said that senior Sean Sheller will fill the left tackle spot if junior Jeff Baca loses his appeal to become academically eligible. Baca started all 13 games in 2009.... Wide receiver Josh Smith sat out practice because of a leg injury. Neuheisel said he expected Smith, a junior, to resume practicing by the end of the week.