UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince appeared tentative at times, and moved gingerly on occasion, during Tuesday's practice, his first with the team since Sept 23. But his injured right knee was deemed fit for service against California on Saturday.
"It's not perfect, but it is well enough to play on," Prince said.
UCLA's coaching staff was ready to move on from the injury.
"He's fine," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said three times, adding, "We monitored him through the whole practice, watched him closely, and he went through the whole practice."
Prince injured his knee Sept. 25 against Texas and missed the Washington State game last week. He wasn't given any limitations in practice by coaches Tuesday. "We wanted to know before we spent all our practice reps on him," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He looked good today."
Prince threw well, but at times pulled up when running with the ball. That area was the chief concern of coaches, as Cal's defensive scheme against Nevada's "pistol" offense was to allow the quarterback to keep the ball.
"I just wanted to be able to do everything I would normally do in a practice when I'm preparing to start a game," Prince said. "I wanted to take all the reps I needed to take and not have any setbacks. I was pleased I was able to do that."
Prince said he was confident there would be no problem with his knee Wednesday.
"Once Saturday rolls around, I'll be 100%," Prince said.
Nelson Rosario's left ankle injury was severe enough to have him in a walking boot and on crutches Tuesday.
"It will probably keep him from the game this week," Neuheisel said. "I'm not ruling him out forever. We'll wait and see."
Neuheisel quickly shot down the suggestion that it was a high ankle sprain, an injury that has kept players out entire seasons. But he didn't entirely rule it out either.
"It's significant," Neuheisel said, adding, "I don't know if we would go as far as to call it a high ankle sprain." So there was some room left for interpretation.
Rosario leads the team with 14 receptions.
Taylor Embree will play at both wide receiver positions this week, receivers coach Reggie Moore said. Moore also singled out the play of Randall Carroll, Josh Smith and Jerry Johnson, who stepped in after Rosario was injured on the first series against Washington State. All are expected to see increased playing time.
"It's time for those guys to grow up and pick up some slack," Moore said.
Free safety Dalton Hilliard, who injured his shoulder against Washington State, sat out practice. Stan McKay took the reps with the second team. . . . F-back Christian Ramirez returned to the team Tuesday. He was given leave from practice last week to attend to a personal matter. . . . Defensive end Datone Jones (broken foot) said he expected to be out of a walking boot next Tuesday and would begin workouts.