UCLA’s impressive quartet of linebackers is short one member. Junior Eric Kendricks underwent surgery on his right ankle Friday, and will miss the Dec. 31 Sun Bowl against Virginia Tech.
Third in the conference with 106 tackles, Kendricks missed one game this season as he played through numerous injuries this season, including a shoulder sprain. He has struggled with pain in his right ankle for months, and had a procedure on it after spring practices.
The ankle should be weight-bearing again within the next couple of days.
“We expect him to make really great progress and be back for spring ball,” said head coach Jim Mora, who added that there was a lot of “back and forth” about when to do the surgery. “He hates to have to miss the bowl game, but it was just extremely painful for the kid. He just wouldn’t have been effective. The best thing to do is just go get it done right now.”
Isaako Savaiinaea will get his second start of the season in place of Kendricks. The true freshman has 24 tackles this season, including one for loss.
Whether or not Kendricks will be 100 percent healthy for spring practices remains uncertain.
“It depends on how his rehab goes,” Mora said. “I think the prudent thing to do is to take it as slow as we need to do to make sure he’s ready for summer. You know how EK is; he’s going to push, push, push.”