Anthony Barr returns to practice

Anthony Barr returned to practice Wednesday, the first time he has done so since tearing his meniscus Sept. 24 against Oregon State.

Coach Rick Neuheisel says he hopes Barr, a sophomore F-back, can play Saturday and add another offensive weapon to a unit that will be short four receivers because of suspensions.

"It was great to have Anthony Barr back out there so hopefully we can have him in some small role for the weekend," Neuheisel said. "We’ll try to see how many [plays] we can get out of him, but he's certainly a guy who has played."

Barr, a versatile weapon who can catch, run and is an excellent blocker in the run game, played all 12 games last season with four starts. He played four games this year with one start and scored two touchdowns -- one receiving and one rushing.

He had surgery on his knee Sept. 30 and was expected to be out three to six weeks, so getting him back this week would be at the short end of that time frame, but with receivers Taylor Embree, Shaquelle Evans, Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray suspended for Saturday's game because of their involvement in a bench-clearing brawl last week at Arizona, the Bruins can use all the bodies they can get.

"If he’s able to go -- I know he’s chomping at the bit to go -- and if it's not unsafe, we’ll continue to explore it," Neuheisel said.