Notebook | Injured tight end won't go on trip
Michael Gottlieb is still ailing, but QB Jake Locker is expected to be ready after his hamstring injury.
Seattle Times staff reporter
The Washington Huskies have apparently escaped any major damage from one hamstring injury suffered during fall camp, with quarterback Jake Locker expected to be ready to go when UW opens the season Saturday night at Oregon.
A lesser-hyped hamstring injury, however, has cost the Huskies the services of another starter, tight end Michael Gottlieb, who will almost certainly miss the trip to Eugene, UW coach Tyrone Willingham said.
In his regular Thursday meeting with reporters, Willingham said that Gottlieb "will not make it at this time."
The senior from Mercer Island suffered a hamstring strain Aug. 11 and had sat out most of practice until this week. He said Tuesday he planned to test the injury to see where he was in his recovery. The hamstring apparently didn't pass.
Senior Walt Winter, a Juanita High grad who began his career as a defensive end before changing sides early in the 2006 season, is listed as the backup to Gottlieb, and according to coaches has had his best fall camp as a Husky.
But Willingham said that the injury to Gottlieb could open the door for significant playing time for true freshman Kavario Middleton of Lakes High, who was among the most heralded members of UW's recruiting class of 2008.
"I think it's still emerging," Willingham said of the tight end position. "But obviously I think Kavario has shown himself to be very productive in a lot of areas, and as he continues to grow and get better, he could be one of those guys that begins to share the lion's share of the time."
Middleton, listed at 6 feet 5, 255 pounds, has been lauded by coaches for his pass-catching ability and for providing a big target down the middle of the field, something UW hasn't had since the days of Jerramy Stevens and Kevin Ware during the Rick Neuheisel era.
• Willingham also said that safety Jason Wells, still recovering from a knee injury suffered last year against USC, won't make the trip. Wells has been limited throughout fall camp.
• Oregon coach Mike Bellotti has said the Ducks might use two quarterbacks against the Huskies — starter Justin Roper and backup Jeremiah Masoli. Willingham said the Huskies are prepared for yet another option Saturday — no quarterback at all.
"I'm even probably willing to think they may have some things in place that may not even involve a quarterback," he said.
• Willingham said walk-on left tackle Nick Scott has been put on scholarship. Scott transferred from Drake and was immediately eligible after getting a waiver, having moved largely because of a family issue. He is the backup left tackle with Mark Armelin battling a knee injury.
• The weather forecast for Eugene on Saturday is sunny with a high temperature of 71.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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UPDATE - 10:18 PM
Washington State's Klay Thompson will play Thursday against Huskies
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