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Wednesday, September 16, 2009
UNLV's Clayton practicing after injury scare



Posted by ESPN.com’s Graham Watson


UNLV junior quarterback Omar Clayton is practicing with the team this week, but it is unclear whether he’ll start Saturday’s game against Hawaii.

Clayton suffered what was originally diagnosed as a bruised knee when he was hit from behind during the third quarter of last week’s game against Oregon State. Clayton limped around the next few plays before coming out of the game. There was some fear that Clayton might have aggravated the torn MCL he suffered against TCU during the ninth game of last season.

“Omar had an MRI and it showed nothing significant,” coach Mike Sanford said. “He basically bruised his knee and might have had a little bit of a, like a low hamstring pull. He came to practice on Sunday, he moved around pretty darn well. He was still a little stiff at that point. My expectation is that he’ll be able to play.”

Sophomore backup Mike Clausen replaced Clayton and was 18-of-26 for 170 yards, one touchdown and an early interception. But he was key during the fourth quarter when he went 6-of-9 for 58 yards and threw two touchdowns. One of those touchdowns came with just over 4 minutes remaining and gave the Rebels a 21-20 lead and a chance for the upset. But Oregon State marched down the field and hit the game-winning field goal in the final seconds.

Sanford said he would hold off on naming a starter until the week of practice concluded because he wanted to see how Clayton’s health progressed. However, if Clayton is healthy enough to play Saturday, he's expected to start the game.