SEATTLE — For the second time this season, the Washington Huskies will wait until the conclusion of a Thursday practice to figure out who will start at quarterback when they play on Saturday.
It’s a wait-and-see mode necessitated by another injury to quarterback Keith Price, who must wait for the swelling in his right throwing shoulder to quell before he can throw the ball at practice and prove to coach Steve Sarkisian that he’s capable of playing in Saturday’s game at Oregon State.
So Price, who injured the shoulder in the second quarter of Friday’s loss at UCLA, will rest Tuesday and Wednesday, then throw on Thursday and be evaluated from there.
In the meantime, Sarkisian said, redshirt freshman Cyler Miles will prepare as if he is going to make his first career start.
“I’m not going to put him (Price) on the field if he’s not healthy enough to play,” Sarkisian said. “He’s going to have to show me Thursday that he’s able to make the throws that he’s capable of making. We’re going to allow that shoulder some time to get some of the swelling out of there, the inflammation out of there, so that he feels good on Thursday to go out and throw. And if he’s capable of doing that, we’ll play him. If he’s not, we’ll go with Cyler.”
The good news for Price is that an MRI exam did not reveal any structural damage, meaning that his ability to play will be a matter of pain tolerance.
The fifth-year senior has already tolerated a considerable amount of pain during his three-year career as a starter. As a sophomore in 2011 he played through ankle and knee injuries, lingering issues that eventually caused him not to start UW’s game at Oregon State that year.
He was beat up in similar fashion last season, too, and this season played four games through swelling around the thumb on his right throwing hand.
Before the Huskies played California on Oct. 26, Price’s thumb was so banged up that Sarkisian issued a similar edict — limited participation during practice until Thursday, at which point Price threw well enough to convince Sarkisian he could play in that week’s game.
When he came out of Friday’s game after two hard hits, Price tried to throw a warm-up pass on the sideline and immediately dropped his shoulder in pain. The inflammation was too much to bear. But the Huskies hope these few days off will alleviate it.
“With what our medical team has done, in my opinion (they) have done a great job already identifying it,” Sarkisian said. “The swelling is reducing rapidly. His movement is much better today than it was the last couple of days. So we’ll see where he’s at Thursday. I don’t count the guy out. He’s a fighter, he’s a competitor.”
The Huskies are also unsure of left tackle Micah Hatchie’s status. He left Friday’s game early in the second half after he was leg-whipped, Sarkisian said, and is “still pretty sore.”
“We need to get Micah healthy,” Sarkisian said. “As important as Keith (Price) is, Micah is, too, to what we do. Hopefully we get him back sooner rather than later.”
Pac-12 admits mistake
One of Price’s better throws during Friday’s game was a 38-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Damore’ea Stringfellow in the first half.
But it wasn’t a touchdown. Offensive guard Dexter Charles was penalized for illegally touching a defender’s face with his hands, and the touchdown was wiped out.
But it wasn’t a penalty — or shouldn’t have been, anyway. Television replays proved as much. The Pac-12 admitted it, too, Sarkisian said, informing UW that the official who threw the flag was, indeed, incorrect.
“We get a lot of penalties, and probably the majority of those, deservedly so,” Sarkisian said. “When you get one that isn’t, and is obviously very clear to see that it’s not a penalty, and not only is it not a penalty, it takes seven points off the board for you in a critical ballgame, it’s hard. But the reality is that one play is not the reason why we lost the game. Sure, would we have loved to have that touchdown? No doubt about it. But there’s other plays in there, too, that we could have helped ourselves better.”
The Huskies punted to UCLA’s 1-yard line two plays after the penalty, then forced and recovered a fumble before scoring a touchdown.