Ailing Jake Locker not about to rest
SEATTLE -- His ribs are tender from shots he took against Oregon State and a thigh bruise won't go away. But Jake Locker has no plans on resting.
Locker said Monday he definitely would be playing on Saturday when the Huskies host No. 13 Stanford, despite a growing list of ailments that has limited what Washington coach Steve Sarkisian can do with his quarterback.
"Hopefully, I get to run around a little bit this week and get feeling a little bit better, and then we're able to do what we're accustomed to doing," Locker said.
The Huskies (3-4, 2-2 Pac-10) could use their quarterback as close to full strength as possible as they face a ranked opponent for a third straight week.
Locker was slowed two weeks ago against Arizona State by his bruised thigh and by an illness. He recovered well enough to be full-go and used both running and passing a week later in the Huskies' 35-34 double overtime upset of then-No. 24 Oregon State.
But at some point during the victory over the Beavers, Locker took a shot to his ribs that left them bruised and extremely sore. Sarkisian said Monday that Locker does not have any broken ribs, but that his play calling against Arizona was hampered by his desire to keep Locker from taking any extra hits.
"Ultimately, as much as I want them to perform and to play well, I want them to be healthy. I want to make sure that I don't expose them to things that could further injure them," Sarkisian said. "I wasn't going to do that last week with Jake. I wasn't going to put him out there and run him between the tackles to take hits that he didn't need to take. That's not the reason we lost the game."
Locker had just six rushes against Arizona, his second-fewest of the season, but four of those were sacks. He finished with negative yards rushing for the fourth time in his Washington career.
Locker's history at Washington is filled with an assortment of injuries, some of which have lingered for weeks. His freshman year was slightly derailed by a head injury against Oregon State, while he lost most of his sophomore season because of a broken thumb.
Last year, in his first season with Sarkisian, Locker remained mostly healthy, but was slowed for a handful of weeks by a deep thigh bruise.
Locker said despite the rib and thigh injuries, he felt pretty good on Saturday, labeling himself at about "90 percent" against Arizona. He barely practiced before the Arizona game, but Sarkisian is hopeful he'll get more reps in practice this week.
Asked if Locker's ailments continue, what would prompt a change to redshirt freshman Keith Price, Sarkisian said, "If I don't think Jake gives us the best chance to win."
Locker threw for 183 yards and one touchdown against Arizona. He also completed a 43-yard pass to Cody Bruns, saying there wasn't any additional pain in his ribs trying to throw the deep ball.
"You can't fall behind 30-14 in the first half and expect to win," Sarkisian said. "We're a better football team than that. We'll play better than that."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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