Jake Locker practices despite bruised thigh
The UW quarterback participated in team drills for the first time this week on Thursday and will play Saturday, although probably not at 100 percent.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Oregon State @ UW, 7:15 p.m., ESPN
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In the attention initially focused on the illness that slowed quarterback Jake Locker against Arizona State last Saturday, a thigh bruise he suffered during the game seemed like an afterthought.
But as Washington's week of practice for Saturday's game against Oregon State wore on and Locker continued to sit out team drills, it became apparent the injury might be more than just a passing thing.
"It's a significant bruise that has really affected his ability to run," UW coach Steve Sarkisian said after Thursday's practice.
But the injury might not limit Locker much against the Beavers.
During UW's last major practice of the week, Locker got his most significant work, running the No. 1 offense during team drills for the first time.
"I thought he moved around good today," Sarkisian said. "We did some things with him running, and he responded well."
Asked if Locker would be limited, Sarkisian said: "I wouldn't think so, but we'll obviously monitor it closely as the game goes on. ... He looks fine. I thought he would get back. I don't think he will be 100 percent; there is a pretty good-sized bruise. But it's nice to have him and know that you've got him."
Locker brushed off questions about his thigh on Monday when he spoke to the media — the only day he is available during the week — saying it wasn't as bad as one he suffered last season. That one didn't keep him out of games, but limited his running in games against UCLA and Oregon State.
Locker suffered the injury in the first quarter against Arizona State, though Sarkisian said it's unclear how and when.
"He doesn't exactly know and we can't really find it on film," the coach said. "I don't know if it was a knee, a helmet or a shoulder. I'm not sure."
Keith Price ran the No. 1 offense during full-pad practices Tuesday and Wednesday. Sarkisian said his confidence in the redshirt freshman has grown.
"I feel like he improves daily, and for sure weekly," Sarkisian said. "His decision-making continues to improve. His ability to adjust to the weather that's flying around us and everything that's going on.
"He's grown a lot from the first time he got here, from the little skinny kid from Southern California to now. He's able to throw the ball around in the wind and the rain and be accurate and make good decisions and have the huddle presence that it takes. So I'm very confident in Keith."
Linnenkohl a happy Beaver
Oregon State center Alex Linnenkohl is officially questionable for Saturday's game while dealing with an ankle injury. But the senior has started 31 straight games and said he doesn't intend for that streak to end now.
For one thing, the game will be the last chance for Linnenkohl, a graduate of Capital High in Olympia, to play in his home state.
Linnenkohl said he grew up a follower of the Huskies, if not necessarily an ardent fan. But when he emerged as a prospect in high school — he was a member of the Class of 2006 — he hoped to be courted by UW.
Instead, he says the Huskies wavered.
"I always felt Tyrone Willingham was going after the national guys," he said of the former Huskies coach.
He accepted a scholarship offer from Oregon State, where he had gotten to know the coaches while attending high-school camps.
This is the third straight year he has started every game for an OSU team that has finished second or third in the Pac-10 each season.
"I would have been happy to be anywhere and play," he said. "But I really wanted to be a Beaver."
• WR Devin Aguilar, who missed the ASU game with a hip injury, is unlikely to play Saturday, Sarkisian said. Aguilar did not participate in team drills Thursday.
• True freshman TE Michael Hartvigson of Bothell will have surgery to repair a recent shoulder injury and will miss the rest of the season, Sarkisian said. The coach said Hartvigson will qualify for a redshirt year and retain a year of eligibility.
• UW again went with an offensive line featuring Greg Christine at center, true freshman Colin Porter at guard and Drew Schaefer at right tackle. But Sarkisian said the alignment wasn't final.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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