One day next week, UW center Juan Garcia will throw his 305-pound body into some 280-pound defensive lineman and push. That will be the key test of how well his injured foot has healed over the off-season.
If the foot stands up to the test -- and the tests that will follow every down for the rest of his career -- Garcia believes he can be back playing for the Huskies far earlier in the season than anyone had suspected last fall when the lisfranc injury to his left foot put his career in jeopardy. Garcia -- always the optimist -- hopes he could be ready for the opener Aug. 30 at Oregon, although he admits week two or three may be more realistic ... at least in part because his conditioning has been hampered by the injury.
Of course, the other side of Garcia's decision to skip surgery is that if there is a setback now, it probably means his career as a Husky is over.
"I was talking to (offensive line coach Mike Denbrock) about one of these days I might have to go out there full speed and either I'm going to be able to go, or it's going to be the end of that because I'm tired of waiting," Garcia said. "I hate seeing my guys out there and I'm not there with them."
Coaches Willingham and Denbrock are naturally hoping the best for Garcia, but they also need to be ready to go into the season -- and perhaps through the season -- without him.
Meanwhile, three veterans who have battled knee injuries gave updates on their situations heading into camp:
*Kicker Ryan Perkins: "I'm doing good. … It'll always go down hill, but right now it's pretty good at this point."
*Linebacker Donald Butler: "I can definitely say that I'm 100 percent – finally. It's exciting. It's exciting to be back."
*Safety Jason Wells: "I'm ready to go. … I'm probably going to ease into things right now because I haven't really hit or been that explosive without having my knee brace on."