Washington won't rush return of QB Locker after neck injury


SEATTLE -- Washington quarterback Jake Locker won't be
rushed back into action after suffering stinger and muscle strain
in his neck, coach Tyrone Willingham said Sunday night.

Locker was injured in a helmet-to-helmet collision in the second
quarter of the Huskies' 29-23 loss to Oregon State on Saturday
night. He was taken off the field on a stretcher, but additional
tests conducted Sunday confirmed the injury is a stinger. Locker
began therapy Sunday.

"We are truly happy that the tests that were conducted on Jake
indicated nothing more serious that a stinger and muscle strain,''
Willingham said. "We will not rush Jake's return to the field. The
extent to which Jake will be out of action will be in large part
determined by his ability to recover from the injury.''

Locker, the dynamic redshirt freshman from Ferndale, Wash., was
scrambling on a third-down play when he was hit by Oregon State
safety Al Afalava in the second quarter.

Locker stayed down for about 15 minutes and did not appear to
move while emergency workers attended to him. He was then put on a
stretcher with his head immobilized and taken by ambulance to Good
Samaritan Hospital in Corvallis.

Locker returned to the sideline with 3:18 left in the game,
walking slowly and wearing a neck brace as the crowd cheered.
Afalava briefly talked to and then hugged Locker on the field
immediately after the game.

Locker flew home on a private jet with a doctor ahead of his
team early Sunday. He was originally diagnosed with a sprained

Known for his scrambling ability, Locker had 16 yards on six
carries Saturday night before the injury. He has 807 yards rushing
in 10 games.

Washington (3-7, 1-5 Pac-10) has three games remaining,
including Saturday's home game against California.