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Originally published August 16, 2013 at 9:40 PM | Page modified August 17, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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UW star Seferian-Jenkins at practice a day after surgery

The preseason All-American, wearing a small cast over his pinkie, was in uniform but did not participate in any team activities.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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One day after having surgery on his fractured right pinkie, Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was back on the field for practice inside Husky Stadium on Friday evening.

The preseason All-American, wearing a small cast over his pinkie, was in uniform but did not participate in any team activities.

At least one teammate believes the star tight end will suit up for the season opener against Boise State in two weeks.

“He’ll be back. He’ll be back,” senior quarterback Keith Price said. “He just told me today, ‘Hey man, I could play today if I wanted to.’ But I told him, ‘Man, there’s no need to do that.’ But he’s awesome. I know he’s an extremely hard-worker and I know he’ll be back with us.”

Coach Steve Sarkisian said Seferian-Jenkins’ surgery went well and the junior tight end has had a “great attitude and an upbeat mentality. He’s really been engaging, which is what you want when a guy becomes a junior and starts to mature.”

Sarkisian said he was unsure of a timeline for Seferian-Jenkins’ return.

“I’m not an expert that way,” he said. “I’m going to kind of take it day to day and see how this thing responds.”

The good news for the Huskies was there was no ligament damage to Seferian-Jenkins’ pinkie.

“The surgery went good,” Sarkisian said. “Just as we thought from the X-ray, it was a clean break. They inserted the pin in his pinkie and now the rehab process is under way. … It didn’t have anything to do with the knuckle. It was right on the pinkie.”

Neuheisel’s impressed

The Huskies have a fan in former UW coach Rick Neuheisel.

“I think this is a breakout year (for them), I really do,” Neuheisel said. “I think they have playmakers in all the places you need them; they’ve got an experienced quarterback whose star has been as bright as anybody’s. … I like the Huskies. Everybody asks who my sleeper is; I don’t call them a sleeper. I think they’re right there on the cusp of fighting for the North division crown.”

Neuheisel was back on campus Friday afternoon and got his first glimpse of the nearly completed Husky Stadium.

“If there’s such a thing as a ‘wow factor,’ I just experienced it,” said Neuheisel, now an analyst for the Pac-12 Networks. “Having coached here, having spent some great, great times here, and having experienced the thrill of some great victories, looking at this new arena gives me chills. Because this home-field advantage is second to none. …

“I feel bad for Boise State,” he added.

Neuheisel was 33-16 in four seasons as the UW coach, leading the Huskies to a victory in the 2001 Rose Bowl. He is, of course, also remembered for his high-profile divorce from UW related to his involvement in a pool for the 2003 NCAA Tournament.

“I was excited to come back here. Like I said, I have very fond memories of my time here at Washington. … I know it was a messy ending to my time here, and I think we all learned lessons from that time,” Neuheisel said. “But it’s in the past and as things in the past, you move on.

“The biggest regret,” he added, “was how it ended. It was a stupid basketball pool. It would’ve been easy just to say, ‘I can’t go.’ (But) I didn’t think about it. Obviously one little decision turned into be a nightmare. That is unfortunate.”

The Pac-12 Networks’ segment on the Huskies will air at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Notes

• The Huskies wrapped up their final daily-double workouts Friday and the last workout open to the media Friday night. They will hold a closed scrimmage Saturday.

Adam Jude: 206-464-2364 or ajude@seattletimes.com.


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