QB Graunke sits out drills
By Stephen Tsai
By Stephen Tsai
Although quarterback Tyler Graunke was unable to participate in 7-on-7 drills yesterday because of tenderness in his right (throwing) hand, the fifth-year senior vowed to be ready to play Saturday against San Jose State.
"Definitely," Graunke said.
Graunke injured the area in the base of his right thumb during the second half of the Sept. 13 game against Oregon State. He underwent two separate sets of X-rays. Neither showed a fracture nor a tear.
Graunke did not practice last week. The Warriors had a bye the past weekend.
He received medical clearance to practice last Friday. Yesterday, with his right hand wrapped in a thin layer of bandages, he threw passes during warmups.
But just before the Warriors were to break off into 7-on-7 passing drills, Graunke went to the training area. He unwrapped the bandages. The trainers then applied a thick ice pack to Graunke's right hand.
The pain is "mostly on the inside,"said Graunke, pointing to the bottom side of the thumb. "If I move my thumb toward my fingers, it's fine. Away from it is when it hurts."
He also said there is pain in his right wrist.
Quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said Graunke was set to receive "double treatment" on his right hand yesterday.
"I'll make it triple treatment," Graunke said.
After experiencing problems with his grip, Graunke thought, "I knew I needed an extra day of treatment and therapy."
Head coach Greg McMackin said Graunke has full mastery of the offense.
"He's been in (the system) for four years," McMackin said. "It'll come back faster for him. I think he's going to be fine."
Rolovich said Graunke needs the practice time to bond with the receivers. Because of academic issues and the injury, Graunke has participated in nine full practices since Aug. 4, the first day of training camp.
"The familiarity you get with your receivers in practice is what he needs," Rolovich said.
Graunke agreed, saying: "I need to get out there and practice with the guys for the timing and camaraderie. We need to be on the same level, the same page ... like we were in the second half against Weber (State)."
RB FARMER RETURNS
The running back picture gained some clarity yesterday.
David Farmer yesterday resumed practicing for the first time since suffering a partial tear in his right knee during training camp. The injury did not require surgery.
Farmer competed in position workouts, but not the 7-on-7 drills. While he still needs final medical approval, he remains confident he will play this weekend.
"I should be ready to go," said Farmer, who has kept in shape with one-legged squats and cardiovascular exercises.
Leon Wright-Jackson, who exited after one play against Oregon State, also practiced yesterday. Wright-Jackson has been bothered by a sore arch in his left foot.
"It was frustrating," he said of his one-play appearance against OSU. "I felt I let the team down on that one. I'm going to make it up this week, and get ready for San Jose State."
Daniel Libre, meanwhile, needs more time to recover from a sprained right ankle. He did not play against Weber State because of a high-ankle sprain. Against Oregon State, he suffered a sprain to the lower part of the right ankle.
He suffered the latest injury when an OSU "guy rolled on" the ankle.
"It was like a replay of what happened in (the season opener against) Florida," Libre said.
UH usually employs a one-back offense. McMackin said Kealoha Pilares will not return to slotback until Libre has been declared to be at full strength.
"We would like to move Kealoha back to slot, but he's (one of) our leading runner(s) right now," McMackin said. "The main thing is to get the ball in his hands because he's a playmaker."
Quarterback/running back Bryce Kalau'oka'a'ea will undergo season-ending knee surgery.
Kalau'oka'a'ea suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during last week's Scout Bowl. Surgery is scheduled for Oct. 6. He said he hopes to be ready for spring practice.
"It's an unfortunate injury," he said. "I was having fun being out there."
As a Castle High student, he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
"I have to overcome it again," he said.
DEFENSIVE TACKLES BACK
Defensive tackles Rocky Savaiigaea and Fale Laeli are set to rejoin the playing rotation.
Savaiigaea resumed practicing last week after recovering from a torn triceps in his left arm.
"I'm ready for this game," Savaiigaea said. "I don't care what happens. I can't miss another home game. I can't miss another game, period."
Laeli did not play against OSU because of a "tweaked" right ankle. He also has been troubled by tendinitis in his surgically repaired right knee.
"Yes, I will play this week," Laeli declared.
LETULI GETTING HEALTHY
If Laupepa Letuli is healthy, he will start at left tackle.
Then again, Letuli, a fourth-year junior, has had poor immunity against the injury bug.
"I haven't gone one year without (an injury)," said Letuli, who appears to have recovered from a slight tear in his left shoulder. "Hopefully, this is it. I want to be healthy the rest of the season, and progress."
Yesterday, the first-team tackles were Aaron Kia on the left and Adrian Thomas on the right. The usual No. 1 right tackle, Keoni Steinhoff, has a broken finger. He will resume practicing today.
Kia also practiced at right tackle when Letuli was at left tackle.
Offensive line coach Brian Smith said Raphael Ieru and Brysen "Bulla" Ginlack will split time at left guard.
Reach Stephen Tsai at email@example.com.