Dean ready to go after injury woes

2009-11-05T00:00:00Z Dean ready to go after injury woes By Ryan Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 05, 2009 12:00 am  • 

UA FOOTBALL

Delashaun Dean is explaining the injuries that have slowed his junior season to a painful crawl, and it's hard to keep them straight.

There's the hamstring strain, so painful and persistent that the Arizona Wildcats' wide receiver didn't play a snap in training camp. There are the cramps that forced him from a Week 4 win over Oregon State, and the ankle sprain he suffered in a loss to Washington a week later.

And then there's the concussion he suffered against Northern Arizona.

"Oh yeah - I forgot about that," Dean says, his comedic timing as precise as his route-running. "It's been a rough ride."

Things appear to be getting better for Dean as the Wildcats (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-10) prepare for Saturday's game against Washington State.

The Wildcats' wide receiver has been practicing at full strength in recent weeks, and - coming off a much-needed bye - appears ready to contribute offensively.

Dean has caught just 17 passes for 148 yards this season, numbers that are fifth among Arizona's receivers. He's been out-gained - and outshined - by the emergence of sophomore Juron Criner.

Still, Dean insists he's "pretty happy right now."

"I got a lot of work in during the bye week. I'm getting healthy and getting extra treatment," he said. "That's helped a lot."

Big things were expected of Dean this season, in part because of the way he finished the 2008 season. Playing the "Z" receiver spot, Dean grabbed 13 passes for 174 yards in the Wildcats' final two games - a lopsided win over Arizona State and a 31-21 victory over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Dean stood out in spring drills, and was slated to be the Wildcats' No. 1 receiver heading into this season. But he entered camp nursing a hamstring strain, and has yet to get on track.

"He's been banged up all year," outside receivers coach David Nichol said.

Some of it's bad luck. Take Dean's most impressive catch of the year to date.

The Wildcats' receiver made a sliding 23-yard catch just before halftime of the Week 2 win over Northern Arizona, only to be hit by the Lumberjacks' Matt Estrada and Raphael Mack. Dean had to be helped off the field; he didn't return to the game.

Dean returned the following week against Iowa but did not catch a pass, and was forced to leave the next two games with injuries.

He was held without a catch against Stanford in Week 6, then caught four passes for 27 yards against UCLA.

The bye week came at a perfect time for Dean and the rest of the Wildcats' banged-up players, a list that includes tailbacks Nicolas Grigsby and Greg Nwoko, and defensive end Brooks Reed.

Dean received plenty of rest and, just as importantly, a pep talk from his concerned coaches.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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