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Originally published Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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Notebook | Jake Locker could miss eight weeks with thumb injury

Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham left open the idea that Locker could return earlier at another position.

Seattle Times staff reporter

As a quarterback, Washington's Jake Locker will be out six to eight weeks after having surgery Monday to repair a broken right thumb suffered Saturday against Stanford.

But Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham left open the idea that Locker could return earlier at another position.

"It is possible," Willingham said. "I can't tell you where right now. But he is a tremendous athlete, and the ability to play five, six, seven positions exists."

Willingham wouldn't speculate as to what those positions might be, or when Locker might be available.

First for Locker, however, was surgery, which was reported on Willingham's radio show to have lasted at least three hours and involved inserting plates and screws to repair the thumb. Willingham said Locker broke the first metacarpal bone, which connects the thumb to the hand.

Locker was hurt while throwing a block on a reverse by Jordan Polk midway through the second quarter of the 35-28 loss to the Cardinal.

Willingham said on his radio show that the thumb shattered when Locker's hand hit the ground while making the block.

Willingham said the nature of Locker's rehabilitation would determine whether he would possibly be used at another position — Locker was also a standout safety at Ferndale High School and is obviously a good runner.

Asked about the chance of exposing Locker to further injury, Willingham said: "Well, you always run that risk. The play that he got hurt on was just an extra effort play that he really didn't contact anybody other than the ground. So that risk is always there. But this is a young man I feel like, like a lot of the young men in our program, would be willing to do anything to help the football team be successful and win."

More realistic is that Locker sits out and rehabs until it's time to return at quarterback. Six weeks would mean Locker could return in time for the Nov. 8 home game against Arizona State. Eight weeks could sideline him until the Apple Cup on Nov. 22 in Pullman.

With Locker sidelined, redshirt freshman Ronnie Fouch will take over as the starter beginning with Saturday night's game at Arizona, backed up by Taylor Bean. Bean, a walk-on redshirt freshman from Skyview High in Vancouver, Wash., has not seen action as a Husky.

"Obviously, [Locker is] a huge loss because he adds so much to our team in so many ways," Willingham said. "His presence. His running skills. What he brings to us in the passing game. But I also am very confident in Ronnie Fouch. [I] think we have been saying that for the last [year]. That we like a lot of things about Ronnie Fouch and just trying to find a way to get him some plays. ... He stepped in very cool, very composed. He has the respect of his teammates."


Fouch, a graduate of Redlands East Valley High in Redlands, Calif., is 25 for 47 for 325 yards and two touchdowns this season. He said he was excited about his first start, while admitting that it won't be easy replacing Locker.

"It's a tough loss," Fouch said. "But we can't give up now. We've only played four games. We've got a lot of season ahead of us still, so we have to keep moving forward."

One possible advantage for UW this week is Arizona's relative lack of knowledge about Fouch. The Wildcats had a bye last week, and Arizona coach Mike Stoops said the team spent a lot of time devising a game plan to defend Locker.

"Looks like that plan has gone out the window, so we have to readjust our defense a little bit to get situated for a different game plan we are going to see from Washington," Stoops said.

Stoops said he envisions the Huskies attempting to run the ball more in conventional ways rather than with the quarterback.

Stoops said, "I anticipate a much more physical game, put it that way."


• The news on WR D'Andre Goodwin was better than first thought after the game Saturday. Willingham said X-rays of Goodwin's injured ribs were negative.

"So now it's about pain and comfort and those kinds of things," Willingham said, adding Goodwin could practice today.

• Willingham was a little more vague about the status of RB David Freeman and LB Donald Butler. Freeman suffered an ankle injury. "That will be day to day," Willingham said. "Obviously, he didn't come back in the second half, so that raises some concern. So we'll have to see exactly how it plays and where he is at with that." Butler suffered a concussion and will be tested again today to see if he can return to practice.

• TE Chris Izbicki, charged with two misdemeanors in relation to an incident at the White River Amphitheatre in July, has filed a stipulated order of continuance in King County Court.

That means the charges will be wiped away if Izbicki adheres to a few specific conditions through March 15, 2009. Izbicki was charged with second-degree trespassing and minor in possession.

In the stipulated order of continuance, he must commit no further violations, avoid further contact with the amphitheater and pay $10 a month in court costs.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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