Muhammad, the team's leading scorer at 18.2 points per game, started feeling ill Monday night, Howland said. He has a fever and because of that, Howland said, doctors believe the illness is a separate issue than the one that caused Kyle Anderson and Jordan Adams to miss practice time last last week.
"He is being hydrated and had a lot of throwing up last night starting around 9 or 10 and didn't get much sleep," Howland said. "He was throwing up throughout the night and into the early morning."
Howland said the symptoms struck quickly. Muhammad practiced Monday afternoon and was showing no signs of illness.
"Yesterday at the end of practice he was fine," Howland said. "He was great. I talked to him today, but he's down. We'll see how he feels tomorrow. I think it's too early to say whether or not he'll play and if he does, how he'll do."
Muhammad's teammates believe he will play. Not only is it the first game against crosstown rival USC for this year's freshman class, but Muhammad's father, Ron Holmes, played at USC, so Muhammad will surely be eager to suit up.
"He's a competitor," UCLA forward David Wear said. "We're all pretty sure that he'll end up playing anyway. Any time you're playing USC, even if you are feeling sick, anybody is going to want to tough it out and get on the court and do what you can do."
Forward Travis Wear, who sat out Saturday's loss to Arizona State after suffering a concussion last Thursday against Arizona, participated in non-contact drills in practice Monday and Tuesday and Howland expects Wear to be cleared to play Wednesday against USC.
"He had no symptoms whatsoever from any kind of concussion," Howland said, adding that Wear still needed to be cleared by the medical staff. "That has not been finalized because the doctors have to do that. He'll see the doctor a little later today, but I'm hopeful that he'll be OK."