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Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Bell injury could mean more time for freshmen

By Peter Yoon

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA's receiver corps got pretty thin at the end of Saturday’s loss to California, with Darius Bell and Jerry Johnson knocked out of the game with injuries.

Johnson, who had bruised ribs, is expected to play this week against Utah, but Darius Bell is out because of an unspecified shoulder injury. Bell made an appearance at practice and had his arm in a sling, but wasn’t available to speak to reporters.

Bell had been splitting time with Joseph Fauria at the "Y" receiver position and had seven catches for 143 yards and led the team with 20.4 yards per catch. He had a 17-yard touchdown reception Sept. 29 at Colorado and had receptions of 34 and 29 yards Sept. 22 against Oregon.

"I think we'll miss his maturity," coach Jim Mora said. "He's got a mature personality and he's a real calm guy so when everything is breaking loose in there he keeps it calm."

Mora said he expect Fauria to see an uptick in playing time now that Bell is not playing behind him, but that freshman Devin Fuller -- like Bell, a converted quarterback -- and freshman Kenny Walker could also get some of those reps.

When Johnson went down last week, freshman Jordan Payton stepped in and had a nice game. Walk-on Jerry Rice Jr. has filled in nicely since Devin Lucien went out with a broken clavicle. So Mora expects the best from whoever plays in Bell’s place.

“We’re going to miss him,” Mora said. “But someone else has got to go in and play and do a good job for us."