Scooby Wright likely a game-time decision for Arizona’s Pac-12 opener vs. UCLA

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After a brief sabbatical, one of the top defensive players in college football could be set for a return. Maybe. Possibly.

Scooby Wright sustained a torn meniscus in No. 16 Arizona’s season-opening win over UT-San Antonio and hasn’t played since, missing wins over Nevada in Week 2 and Northern Arizona last weekend. At the time of the injury, it was expected that the All-American linebacker would be sidelined for 3-4 weeks, with the short end of that timeline potentially leaving him available for this weekend’s Pac-12 opener against No. 9 UCLA.

As it stands now, Wright’s head coach hasn’t closed the door for a return — provided the program’s medical personnel gives the thumbs up.

“The biggest thing would be from the medical staff, is he 100 percent cleared and ready to go?” Rich Rodriguez said. “Not only from an injury standpoint, but is he back to where he can be effective and play the level he’s used to playing at? For any player, you want that to be the case, so before he comes back, [you want him to] be the same kind of player he was before the injury.”

In the end, a decision on Wright’s availability likely won’t be made until shortly before kickoff Saturday night. If he is held out a third week, he could return for the Week 5 road trip to 21st-ranked Stanford.

The good news, though, is that Wright has actually returned to practice, albeit on a limited basis.

Last season, Wright led the nation with 163 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles. He became the first-ever sophomore to win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award and won the Nagurski, Lombardi and Bednarik awards for good measure.