UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince, recovering from an October microfracture surgery on his knee, was cleared to participate in seven-on-seven drills for Thursday's spring practice, but coach Rick Neuheisel forgot and didn't put him in.
"I looked at him and said you gotta tell me," Neuheisel said. "You gotta remind me. But we won’t miss that opportunity again."
Prince, who began last season as the starter before the knee injury sidelined him after Week 6, has been doing only simple footwork drills and some light passing drills so far this spring, but he said his doctor and UCLA's trainers had given the OK for him to step up to the seven-on-seven drills. Those entail receivers and running backs running routes against defensive backs and linebackers.
"The only thing I shouldn't be doing is sprinting out and scrambling," Prince said. "I think I can limit myself to not doing that. I'll be able to control myself."
Prince said this is as far as he will be able to progress in spring football. The next step would be to run live plays in the full-team drills, but his doctors won't allow that until fall.
"I’m trying to stay as patient as I can," Prince said. "It’s frustrating, but unfortunately I’ve had the experience of going through this before and I know that being patient is important."
Neuheisel said he would run some seven-on-seven drills Saturday before the team plays a live scrimmage and that Prince would get the majority of the reps in those drills.
MAIAVA SITS OUT
Center Kai Maiava, who sat out last season because of a broken ankle, aggravated the injury Thursday and sat out the last half of practice.
He said somebody rolled up on his ankle during a running game drill and that he felt a "pop," but didn't expect to miss any more practice time.
"I just have some throbbing pains, but I’m sure I’ll be able to go on Saturday," he said.
Maiava continued to practice a few plays after the injury, but he was clearly favoring the ankle and even tried to hold a block on one leg at one point.
"I felt the aches and pains set in and I was just going to have to sit this one out," he said.
He didn't expect to have X-rays or an MRI exam and said this injury was nothing close to the broken ankle he suffered in the fall scrimmage last year.
"It’s the same ankle, but not even close to that," he said.
A few tidbits:
Offensive lineman Jeff Baca, who broke his ankle on the second day of spring practice, stopped by Thursday and said he would probably be out for six months. If that's the case, he would miss the first month of the season. Baca had eight screws put in to help repair the ankle and said six would probably remain in until at least after the season ends.
Defensive linemen Cassius Marsh and Owmagbe Odighizuwa, starters at the end of last season who had been working with the second team this spring, were with the first team Thursday. Linebacker Isaiah Bowens also got some time with the first team this spring, playing middle linebacker.
Much of the practice centered on the red zone, but it was a bit rough from an offensive standpoint with errant throws and throws to receivers who weren't there. "Always when you install things there some roughness that goes with that," Neuheisel said. "When you install things there’s a lot of thinking. In the red zone there’s a lot of anticipation pulling the trigger so you have to rep that a lot."