UCLA starting cornerback Aaron Hester injured his hamstring during the fall scrimmage Saturday night and will be evaluated over the weekend, coach Rick Neuheisel said.
Hester, a 6-1 junior who started 11 games last season, led the team with three interceptions and was credited with four pass breakups in 2010.
"Hopefully it won’t be one of great significance and we can get him back here in short order, but you always hate to lose one of your front line guys when you’re getting ready to play Houston," Neuheisel said.
The injury further depletes a Bruins secondary that is getting woefully thin. Safety Tony Dye is recovering from a groin strain, safety Tevin McDonald has a foot injury, safety Alex Mascarenas has a concussion, cornerback Anthony Jefferson is recovering from offseason back surgery, and cornerback Jamie Graham had surgery to repair a torn meniscus last week.
With all of those injuries, the only healthy UCLA cornerbacks are Sheldon Price, Andrew Abbott, Brandon Sermons and walk-on Librado Barocio. Price is in his third season as a starter, but none of the others have much game experience.
It's of particular concern because UCLA's first opponent, Houston, runs a pass-happy spread offense, so keeping a heavy rotation in the secondary would be beneficial.
"We’re going to be optimistic and hope that Aaron can be back, but in the event that he can’t it’s going to require some head scratching.," Neuheisel said.