The grim news is never far from this University of Washington football team, which on Monday revealed it has lost linebacker Edefuan Ulofoshio and running back Richard Newton to season-ending injuries suffered in the 24-17 loss to UCLA on October 16.
Ulofoshio, a five-game starter who was the Huskies' leading tackler much of the season, had surgery last week to repair an arm injury incurred against the Bruins. He came to practice on Sunday to encourage his teammates to press on without him.
Newton, who opened in the backfield for the first three games of the season, underwent surgery on Monday morning to repair a torn anterior cruciate knee ligament suffered against UCLA after he caught a 9-yard pass. It was Newton's only play of that game.
Husky coach Jimmy Lake said that safety Alex Cook was in concussion protocol after getting hit in the head during Friday night's 21-16 victory over Arizona, a scary situation where he had to be taken off the field strapped to a stretcher and sent to a hospital. Cook, who since has taken a battery of tests and received good reports, remains week-to-week in his recovery.
"All the major things that could have happened were all negative," Lake said. "It's great news. We're so grateful."
Also, Lake said offensive tackle Jaxson Kirkland, defensive tackle Taki Taimani and safety Cam Williams, all starters who missed the Arizona game with injuries, plus reserve tight end Quentin Moore, remain week-to-week in their recovery.
The 6-foot-1, 235-pound Ulofoshio, a sophomore from Las Vegas, is considered the heart and soul of the Husky defense after working his way up from walk-on player to starter to second-team All-Pac-12 selection over the past three seasons. He goes out with 51 tackles this season, including 2.5 tackles for loss, and a pass breakup.
Sophomore Daniel Heimuli replaced Ulofoshio as the inside linebacker starter against Arizona and will be in competition with sophomore MJ Tafisi, freshman Carson Bruener and freshman Alphonzo Tuputala to retain the spot.
Tuputala played for the first time this season against Arizona after recovering from an Achilles tendon tear he suffered in spring practice, similar to edge rusher Zion Tupuola-Fetui, who has played in two games since rupturing his Achilles.
ZTF played more than 20 snaps against Arizona, double of what he drew against UCLA, and he could play significantly more if not start at Stanford on Saturday night.
Lake also noted the return of tight end Jack Westover, who played against Arizona after missing three games with an injury, and said he held up well in his return.
Newton, a 6-foot, 215-pound sophomore from Lancaster, California, had hoped to make this his comeback season after getting benched in 2020. He opened against Montana, Michigan and Arkansas State before giving way to Sean McGrew, who has started the past four games.
Newton had been nursing minor injuries before he suffered the ACL tear against UCLA. He sits down with 138 yards rushing on 39 carries, and he scored once.
McGrew, Kamari Pleasant and Cam Davis will share the backfield workload in Newton's absence.
Cook, who had started all but the opener, was replaced in the Arizona game primarily by sophomore Dominique Hampton, who appears to be first in line to get the start, which would be his first at the UW.
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