UCLA Bruins quarterback Kevin Prince, who left the Bruins' season-opening 38-34 loss to Houston with a concussion and a mild shoulder sprain, has "better than a 50-50 chance to be available and to play," Saturday against San Jose State, coach Rick Neuheisel said Monday.
Prince landed hard on his head and shoulder area at the end of a four-yard run early in the second quarter at Houston, but Neuheisel said Prince's concussion symptoms cleared by Saturday night and that the big question now is his shoulder.
"X-rays were negative, there was zero in the way of an MRI problem, so it's about comfort," Neuheisel said. "And I know he's desperate to play."
Neuheisel tabbed Prince as the starter over Richard Brehaut after a camp-long battle for the starting job, but insisted both would play in the season opener. Brehaut passed for 264 yards and two touchdowns in relief, but Neuheisel said he would wait and see Prince's status before committing to a starter.
"If he's available and hasn't practiced much, then I would say we'd start Richard but we'd play Kevin," Neuheisel said. "Richard played really well. But so was Kevin playing well until the injury. I don't see any reason not to keep them both in the mix should they both be healthy."
He also said he hasn't given any thought to resting Prince against San Jose State, even though the Spartans were 1-12 last season and have lost 11 consecutive games after falling 57-3 in its season opener at Stanford.
"I don't think that would be fair to Kevin," Neuheisel said. "I think Kevin is dying to get himself ready and to go. Now if Kevin's mindset is of that, which I'd be shocked if it were, then that would probably be the prudent thing to do. But Kevin has waited a long time to play and I think (he) is going to be chomping at the bit to get back in there as quickly as is possible."
Prince was not available to the media Monday.
He had season-ending knee surgery last October. He injured the knee against Texas, sat out a week and came back the following week against California, but needed surgery after that game. Neuheisel said that was a different situation and he's not worried about causing further damage by playing Prince Saturday.
"That was a knee that obviously more damaged than we originally believed," Neuheisel said. "This is an AC sprain which has no damage with respect to the MRI. So, with that being said, now it's a tolerance thing and we'll see where that is."
Peter Yoon covers UCLA for ESPNLosAngeles.com.