Anthony Barr has been somewhat limited since his return two weeks ago from surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but is finally ready for a full game.
Barr injured his knee Sept. 24 at Oregon State and had surgery on Sept. 30. He missed three games and the bye week but returned Oct. 29 against California, though he was in on only 11 plays. Last week, he went between 20 and 25 plays, and said everything feels fine so he is full speed ahead for Saturday's game at Utah.
"I've been kind of on a play count, but now I'm pretty free to go," Barr said. "It feels really good. It's not really bothering me at all any more."
Barr, a 6-5, 235 pound F-back, is key cog in the Bruins' offense because of his versatility, his understanding of the plays and his blocking ability. Since his return, UCLA has won both games and averaged 257 yards rushing. In the three games he missed, the Bruins were 1-2 and averaged 116 yards rushing.
"It was hard sitting out," Barr said. "A couple of those games were tough losses and that was pretty hard to watch so I'm just glad I can be back and contribute."
The injury caught Barr by surprise. He scored a touchdown on a one-yard run on his final carry of the game and said he felt fine afterward, but woke up the next day with a swollen knee.
"I was cool all night and I was fine after the Oregon State game and I woke up and I had a big swollen knee and I didn’t know where it came from," Barr said. "I went to the training and they were like, we’ll probably take a look at that. Found out it was a torn meniscus."
When he came back, it felt a little like starting over. The offense had evolved a little bit and Barr had to catch up on all the new wrinkles, but more importantly he had to re-acclimate to playing n a game.
"There were a little bit of nerves, but they started going away and I was good to go," Barr said. "I just tried not to do too much. Just do what they asked me to do the best I could. That first game back I was rusty and it wasn't my best game, but I had a better game last week."
And, most importantly, the knee has held up just fine.
"Sometimes its a little sore, but that's just the way it is," he said. "It doesn't really affect my ability to play and do what I need to do on the field."