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Originally published November 2, 2009 at 1:54 PM | Page modified November 2, 2009 at 9:31 PM

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Washington QB Jake Locker is "questionable" for game Saturday at UCLA

Coach Steve Sarkisian says Locker is "day to day" but QB says he expects to play.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Saturday

UW @ UCLA, 12:30 p.m., FSN

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As the Huskies head to a place where they are usually doubtful as a team to show up, they find themselves with a quarterback who is questionable.

That's the status coach Steve Sarkisian put on Jake Locker, who is continuing to try to fight through the effects of a deep thigh bruise suffered in the first quarter of a 43-19 loss to Oregon on Oct. 24.

Sarkisian said that he thinks Locker will be on the field for Washington's 12:30 p.m. game Saturday against the Bruins at the Rose Bowl, where the Huskies haven't beaten UCLA since 1995, their longest losing streak in any Pac-10 venue.

And Locker didn't look to be ailing too much during UW's practice Monday afternoon as he did his usual splitting of the reps with the first-team offense with backup Ronnie Fouch. However, it was a relatively light workout (players in just helmets, shoulder pads and sweats/shorts) and Locker didn't do any full-out running.

How Locker makes it through heavier practices on Tuesday and Wednesday figures to tell more, and Sarkisian said his quarterback will have to show progress through the week to play Saturday.

"He's going to be a day-to-day guy," Sarkisian said. "We're not going to force him back on the field if he's not healthy and ready to go. I would anticipate that he would be [able to play], but it remains day to day. We'll see how he can come back from [practices]. And then, obviously, we'll have to assess it day in and day out as we keep moving forward.

Locker met with the media after Sarkisian had — both talked at noon before the team's practice — and said he plans to play, if not definitively saying it's a certainty.

"I should be ready to go," Locker said. "Well see how it progresses through the week."

Asked to describe the injury, he said: "It's stiff. There's a good amount of bleeding and swelling. And you just have to get it out of there so everything functions right."

He said he spent time during the weekend rehabbing the injury with UW trainers as well as visiting a physical therapist in his hometown of Ferndale.

Locker suffered the injury to his right thigh when he was hit by the helmet of Oregon's Javes Lewis midway through the first quarter of a 43-19 loss to the Ducks. Locker was hurt while scrambling for 3 yards to convert a third-and-two on a drive that ended in a UW field goal.

He played the rest of the game, but the injury seemed to get worse. He sat out UW's three practices last week, but did some limited work Sunday night and more Monday.

"You don't want to put a guy out there that can't move and is just a sitting target to get hit," Sarkisian said. "So we'll assess him daily."

If Locker can't play, UW would go with Fouch, a sophomore who started eight games last season when Locker was out with a broken thumb.

Fouch, a graduate of Redlands (Calif.) East Valley High, took the majority of snaps with the first unit last week. Sarkisian said he has been pleased with Fouch's progress.

Notes

• Sarkisian said weakside linebacker E.J. Savannah is likely to miss the game after having surgery last week on his hand — he has suffered three different breaks on the hand this year, the latest coming in the Oregon game. Sarkisian said Savannah should be able to return later in the season but said he is "very doubtful" for this week. Cort Dennison would likely start in his place, as he did when Savannah missed the Notre Dame game with a foot injury. Alvin Logan, who had been playing safety, was moved to the WLB spot last week and took the majority of the reps with the No. 2 defense in practice Monday.

• Sarkisian said he expected most of the other players who rested last week would be able to return. That includes DT Cameron Elisara, who sat out with a stinger that also caused him to miss the Oregon game. However, OL Mykenna Ikehara (knee) was still sidelined Monday. Also, DL Everrette Thompson has been bitten by the flu bug and did not practice Sunday or Monday.

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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