UCLA wide receiver Jerry Johnson is looking forward to playing his first… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)
The journey back from a fractured ankle has taken awhile, but UCLA wide receiver Jerry Johnson appears to have arrived in the nick of time.
Johnson, a junior, will appear in his first game this season when the Bruins play California on Saturday. UCLA is without receivers Randall Carroll, Taylor Embree, Shaquelle Evans and Ricky Marvray, who were suspended for one game for their part in a brawl during the Arizona game Thursday.
Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith are the only receivers available who have played this season. Johnson gives the Bruins a little more experience.
"As of right now, I am feeling 100%," Johnson said. "I feel like my ankle is the way it was before I broke it. I feel like I'm going to dominate Saturday."
Johnson, who played two games in 2009, was beginning to make headway when he was injured in his first career start against Arizona last October. He made two catches in the game but fractured the left ankle in the second half.
He needed two surgeries, one to repair the ankle and another to remove a screw that had been put in the bone.
"I was at the peak of my potential last year," said Johnson, who had five receptions for 57 yards. "Unfortunately, I had the freak accident. But that is in the past."
The future is Saturday.
"If we can get 15 quality plays out of him, that would be terrific," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I think we can get that from him."
Johnson thinks he can give more. He made a handful of slick catches during practice Tuesday.
"My stamina is pretty decent right now," Johnson said. "I'm going to get more running in this week after practice to get my wind back."
Johnson has labored through setbacks this year, saying "sometimes my ankle has felt 90%, sometimes it felt 60%," he said.
But recently, he said, "I have been getting double treatments. It's been feeling really good the past few days."
Tony Dye done for the season
Safety Tony Dye will sit out the remainder of the season, Neuheisel said. Dye, a senior, has not played since Sept. 17 against Texas because of a nerve injury in his neck.
"Tony is down, I would say," Neuheisel said. "My feeling on the issue is Tony and his family will continue to look for maybe another way, but I don't see Tony playing."
Neuheisel said he hopes Dye will use this as a redshirt season. He is eligible for a medical redshirt because he played in the first three games only.
Dye was not made available for comment. He has suffered from severe neck pain since August.
Carroll, Embree, Evans, Marvray and defensive tackle Cassius Marsh are spending their suspension time on the scout teams. Marsh is serving a two-game suspension. … Kicker Kip Smith (hip flexor injury) appears to have had a setback. He did not suit up for practice. … Guard Chris Ward (kneecap injury) did not suit up.