Big test upcoming for Keith Price’s shoulder

christian.caple@thenewstribune.comNovember 21, 2013 

When he’s walking around campus — or, more likely, to the training room — Keith Price said he can’t even tell that his right shoulder is injured.

“It’s when I pick my arm up and try a throwing motion that I really feel the pain,” Washington’s fifth-year senior quarterback said after Wednesday’s practice.

Price hasn’t done any throwing this week, and that’s by design. The Huskies are giving Price, who injured his shoulder Friday night against UCLA, as much rest as possible before testing his arm Thursday.

At some point after practice, coach Steve Sarkisian will determine whether Price will be able to play Saturday at Oregon State.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because the Huskies already tried this regimen this season. It worked the first time: Price’s thumb was swollen before UW’s Oct. 26 game against California, and he didn’t throw much at practice that week until the Thursday before the game.

He was deemed game-ready. Then he went out and completed 20 out of 32 passes for 376 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-17 victory.

This time, there is less certainty. The inflammation in Price’s shoulder was so severe immediately after the injury that he couldn’t move it well enough to throw. The Huskies hope the pain has lessened enough that Price can play through it.

“He feels much better,” Sarkisian said Wednesday. “He’s really improving every single day. I do know that. I think it was a really good decision just to not allow him to throw. He hasn’t picked up a ball and thrown it Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, so we’ll see how it looks (Thursday). But I really think it was a good decision by everybody involved just to cut out all the throwing. He’s taking all the reps in walk-throughs. He’s getting all that stuff done. He’s a fifth-year senior. He’s got a pretty good grasp of our offense at this point.”

So instead of taking practice repetitions — those are going to backup Cyler Miles, who is preparing as if he will make his first career start — Price has been rehabilitating his shoulder at every opportunity.

“It’s ridiculous,” he said. “I’m in there for close to 3-4 hours a day, and today I might even come back for double treatment for my big day tomorrow.”

Price said other than his lack of throwing in practice, his preparation for Oregon State isn’t any different than a typical week. More film study, maybe.

“I’m treating it like any other week,” he said. “I’ve been watching crazy hours of film and getting treatment. That’s all I’ve pretty much been doing is just watching crazy film and getting treatment. I still have a high belief I’m going to play. I’ve been rehabbing like I’m going to play. So hopefully I’m ready to go.”

If not, Miles said he’s ready to go, too.

The redshirt freshman was 15-for-22 passing against UCLA in his most extended action of the season, throwing for two touchdowns in addition to two late interceptions.

“Obviously I’m excited, but it’s the same preparation, same amount of time we get each week,” Miles said. “But of course it’s a little feeling of anxiousness and excitement, but the preparation is the same.”

Miles prepared for that game against California, too, but only played sparingly in garbage time. If he starts in Corvallis, he’ll do so with a game plan specifically modeled for his skill set.

“He’s a different player than Keith,” Sarkisian said. “So we have to tailor some things a little bit differently to him. But all in all, I think he can handle our offense, so I don’t think we have to minimize or do more with him. It’s just running our offense.”

christian.caple@thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/uwsports @ChristianCaple

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