By Christian Caple The News Tribune
SEATTLE — When he’s walking around campus — or, more likely, to the training room — Keith Price says he can’t even tell that his right shoulder is injured.
“It’s when I pick my arm up and try a throwing motion that I really feel the pain,” Washington’s fifth-year senior quarterback said after Wednesday’s practice.
Price hasn’t been doing much throwing this week. Hasn’t done any, actually. And that’s by design. The Huskies are giving Price, who injured his shoulder during Friday’s game against UCLA, as much rest as possible before testing his arm today. At some point after practice, head coach Steve Sarkisian will determine whether Price will be able to play Saturday at Oregon State (7:30 p.m., ESPN2).
If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Huskies have already tried this regimen this season, and it worked the first time: Price’s thumb was swollen prior to UW’s Oct. 26 game against California, and he didn’t throw much at practice that week until the Thursday before the game.
He was deemed game-ready. Then he went out and completed 20 of 32 passes for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-17 victory.
This time, there is less certainty. The inflammation in Price’s shoulder was so severe immediately after the injury that he couldn’t move his shoulder well enough to throw a pass. The Huskies are hoping the pain has lessened enough that Price can play through it.
“He feels much better. He’s really improving every single day. I do know that,” Sarkisian said Wednesday. “I think it was a really good decision just to not allow him to throw. He hasn’t picked up a ball and thrown it Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
so we’ll see how it looks (today). But I really think it was a good decision by everybody involved just to cut out all the throwing. He’s taking all the reps in walk-throughs. He’s getting all that stuff done. He’s a fifth-year senior. He’s got a pretty good
grasp of our offense at this point.”
So instead of taking practice repetitions — those are going to backup Cyler Miles, who is preparing as if he will make his first career start — Price has been rehabilitating his shoulder at every opportunity.
“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’m in there for close to 3-4 hours a day, and today I might even come back for double treatment for my big day tomorrow.”
Price said other than his lack of throwing in practice, his preparation for OSU isn’t any different than a typical week. More film study, maybe.
“I’m treating it like any other week,” he said. “I’ve been watching crazy hours of film and getting treatment. That’s all I’ve pretty much been doing, is just watching crazy film and getting treatment. I still have a high belief I’m going to play. I’ve been rehabbing like I’m going to play. So hopefully I’m ready to go.”
If not, Miles says he’s ready to go, too. The redshirt freshman completed 15 of 22 passes against UCLA in his most extended
action of the season, throwing for two touchdowns in addition to two late interceptions.
“Obviously I’m excited, but it’s the same preparation, same amount of time we get each week,” Miles said. “But of course it’s a little feeling of anxiousness and excitement, but the preparation is the same.”
Miles prepared to play that game against California, too, but obviously didn’t start and only played sparingly in garbage time. If he does make the start in Corvallis, he’ll do so with a gameplan modeled specifically for his skill set.
“He’s a different player than Keith,” Sarkisian said. “So we have to tailor some things a little bit differently to him. But all in all, I think he can handle our offense, so I don’t think we have to minimize or do more with him. It’s just running our offense.”