Safety Tony Dye out for the season

Tony Dye, shown last season taking down Houston QB Case Keenum, will sit out the rest of 2011 because of a neck injury. Gary A. Vasquez/US Presswire

UCLA senior safety Tony Dye will miss the rest of the season because of lingering neck issues coach Rick Neuheisel said Tuesday.

Dye, a senior captain who led the team in tackles last year, has missed the last four games because of a nerve issue that causes numbness in his arm when he hits. Neuheisel and Dye had held out hope that the issue wold subside and Dye could return at some point this season, but it appears to be a much longer term ailment that anticipated.

"Tony and his family will continue to look for maybe another way, but I just don’t think it’s the prudent thing to do," Neuheisel said. "I think Tony need to get himself 100 percent healthy and hopefully come back and play for us next year."

Because Dye played in only the first three games this season and is out because of injury, he would be eligible to petition for a medical redshirt season and be eligible to play next year if the NCAA grants it. He has not yet used a redshirt season.

Dye started the first three games this season and led the team with 10 tackles in the season opener at Houston. He had only three tackles against San Jose State then had six against Texas in a game in which he played hurt.

Dye was not available to the media per the school's injury policy.

UCLA could use Dye, who was on the preseason watch list for nation's top defensive player and started all 13 games in 2009 and all 12 in 2010. The Bruins currently rank No. 106 in the nation in total defense, giving up 436.14 yards per game, and 108th in scoring defense, giving up 34.43 points per game.