UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince threw a short pass during an 11-on-11 drill Wednesday morning.
His back hurt.
Prince went through a second practice, throwing lightly five minutes on the sidelines.
His back hurt.
Prince finished practice and said that his back hurt.
This is the waiting game Prince, Coach Rick Neuheisel and the UCLA trainers are playing. The strained oblique muscle on Prince's left side continues to be a thorn in the Bruins' side.
"The trainers tell me that it's a muscle and that he should be ready for the game," Neuheisel said. "I told them we got to get him out here as soon as they can, and I know they're trying."
"We've got a countdown clock to the first game in the locker room, and it's coming up fast," Prince said. "Every day it's getting closer and closer."
Prince said trainers will be more aggressive with the injury, which has sidelined him for eight days. Asked what more aggressive means, Prince said, "We'll see. I'm not a trainer."
The failsafe point to get him ready for the Kansas State game Sept. 4 appears to be approaching. Neuheisel said, "Once we get to next week, if he's not ready to go, that will be a concern."
Early next week?
"Early next week," Neuheisel said.
Prince said he was told no further tests were necessary.
"They're looking for daily improvement; there's not much I can do about it at this point," Prince said. But, he said, "It hasn't been improving a significant amount every day. Hopefully it will tomorrow."
Prince ran the offense in noncontact 11-on-11 drills for five plays in the morning practice, and his frustration with the situation could be seen in the fact that he called an audible into a pass play on one. He completed a quick out to Randall Carroll and was reprimanded by offensive coordinator Norm Chow.
"It was the right check and I was feeling better in the morning and felt I could make the throw," Prince said. "It hurt."
Chow said, "I told him that was stupid. He could have just told me he knew what check to make."
Prince added the pass showed "I'm not 100% yet."
When that day will come is an open question.
"It's a weird deal, it's a soft-tissue deal," Chow said. "I don't understand how they rehab that. Some people say do deep massage, other people say you don't."
Prince, Chow and a trainer huddled alone on one practice field in the afternoon.
"We're just trying to gauge where we're at," Prince said. "The issue is trying to come back and play through it without re-aggravating it and going back to square one."
Offensive lineman Jeff Baca was back on crutches Wednesday, saying he was feeling a little more pain in his left leg. Baca said that doctors determined he had a stress fracture in his fibula at some point, but that it's now healing. … Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt sat out practice because of a groin injury. … Tight end Cory Harkey ( concussion) was cleared to participate in a full practice. … Safety Stan McKay and F-back Morrell Presley, both out with concussions, were in red no-contact jerseys Wednesday.