Bruins' Cowan carted off with knee injury, Olson with broken bone in foot
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel tried to put the best possible face on the immediate future of quarterback Patrick Cowan, who injured his left knee in practice Thursday.
It's Neuheisel's nature to be positive. But Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who's more direct than a Floyd Mayweather jab, doesn't expect to have Cowan for 2008.
Asked if he expected the worst for Cowan, Chow said: "Oh, yeah….The way he went down. We've got to wait it out. I'm just telling you my opinion."
On back-to-back plays, wearing helmets, shoulder pads and shorts, in the next-to-last practice of an injury-free spring, Cowan and fellow senior Ben Olson suffered non-contact injuries. Cowan injured his ACL and meniscus. Olson broke the fifth metatarsal in his right foot. He will have a screw inserted into the bone and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
Cowan missed eight games last season because of injuries to his left hamstring, right knee and left knee. He underwent arthroscopic surgery on the left knee in February. Olson missed six games because of headaches and a left knee injury.
Cowan impressed Chow with how quickly he picked up the offense that the coordinator and his staff began to install this spring.
"I liked his grit. I liked his leadership. I liked his footwork. I liked a lot about him," Chow said. "And I like Olson. I don't have a problem with Olson. He's going to be a nice quarterback. The frailness of these two kids is crazy…All of a sudden you go from two senior quarterbacks to not knowing what the heck is going to happen."
Expect the Bruins' scrimmage at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night to be vanilla. Chow spoke to defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker on Friday to ask him to go easy on the three quarterbacks -- juniors Kevin Craft and Osaar Rasshan and freshman Chris Forcier -- who are healthy.
Senior writer Ivan Maisel covers college football for ESPN.com.