Huskies unsure of QB Keith Price's status for Oregon State
This scenario feels very familiar to Keith Price.
Two years ago, in the midst of a tremendous sophomore season, Price was forced to the sideline for most of the night when Washington made the trip to Oregon State.
It's potentially about to happen again.
"It's just crazy that I'm injured again before Oregon State," Price said after last Friday's loss to UCLA.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday that the Huskies are preparing for redshirt freshman quarterback Cyler Miles to make his first college start against Oregon State with Price's status uncertain. Price injured his right (throwing) shoulder in the second quarter of the 41-31 loss to the 14th-ranked Bruins and was unable to return to the game.
Sarkisian said Price will not try to practice until Thursday, at which time the coach will decide on a starter.
"With what our medical team has done, in my opinion (they) have done a great job already identifying it," Sarkisian said. "The swelling is reducing rapidly. His movement is much better today than it was the last couple of days. So we'll see where he's at Thursday."
Price was hurt when he was crunched by UCLA's pass rush on consecutive plays at the end of the first half. Sarkisian said Price was unsure which play the injury happened on, but that swelling in the shoulder started almost immediately after the Huskies went to the locker room at halftime.
Before getting hurt, Price had completed 10 of 18 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown. He returned to the sideline in the second half and watched Miles throw for 149 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in the second half of the Huskies loss.
Sarkisian said there is no structural damage to Price's shoulder and that his ability to play will be largely based on pain tolerance and his ability to make all the necessary throws in practice Thursday. If Price is unable to go against the Beavers, he'll have a short turnaround with the Huskies (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) hosting rival Washington State in the Apple Cup on Friday, Nov. 29.
"I don't count the guy out. He's a fighter, he's a competitor," Sarkisian said. "I think he's playing a really good football game there in the first half. If the touchdown pass to (Damore'ea Stringfellow) doesn't get called back, he's well over 200 yards passing against a good defense. Hopefully, we get him back. If not, I know he'll be the first guy there helping Cyler prepare and getting ready to play Saturday."
This is the second time this season Price's status has been in question. He was limited in practice most of the week leading up to the Huskies' Oct. 26 game against California while dealing with a sore thumb on his throwing hand. The rest worked as Price threw for a season-high 376 yards and two touchdowns in the blowout victory over the Golden Bears.
After the game Friday, Price said it was tough being a spectator.
"It's hard just watching from the sideline, knowing that you could have a big-time impact on a game. I'm not saying I would have won the game, but it was hard to stop us when I was in," he said.
The last time Washington went to Corvallis, the intent was that Price would get the entire night off after aggravating a knee injury a week earlier against USC. Nick Montana got the start against the Beavers but was ineffective and replaced in the fourth quarter by Price. Sarkisian said if Miles starts, the Huskies want to find more ways to use his running ability within their offense.
"That's one of the assets he possesses when he's on the field. He's a very accurate passer. I think he has more arm strength than people give him credit for — we saw that in the game the other night," Sarkisian said. "But his legs are something that need to be a factor with him in the game."
Aside from Price's status, Sarkisian bemoaned Washington's continued struggles on the road in conference play. Going back to last season, the Huskies have dropped four straight on the road in Pac-12 play and they have dropped nine of 11 going back to the 2011 season.
"We're tired of being close," Sarkisian said. "I'll be honest with you, we're tired of being close."