Arizona vs. ASU: Wildcats thankful to be healthy heading into showdown with Sun Devils

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a relatively healthy year for the Wildcats this year

The Arizona Wildcats head into the Duel in the Desert against the Arizona State Sun Devils with just one player on the injury report.... Austin Hill.

While there may have been talk of Hill making a return this season after tearing his ACL in spring practice, Hill is officially listed as "out" for the ASU game.

But, how in the world does a football team make it through an entire year so healthy?

ASU comes into this game after a knock 'em down, beat 'em up game against UCLA, which may cost the Sun Devils star RB Marion Grice this weekend in Tempe.  Several ASU beat writers I talked to on Sunday said that there were several players receiving treatment in the Burbank Airport before the team flew back to Tempe that night.  That's unusual.

Arizona is not faced with this problem though.  A very healthy first-team defense, and a mostly-healthy offense will be taking the field Saturday.

The one injury on the offensive line happened in the Oregon game, when Mickey Baucus hurt his ankle early on, but didn't miss an offensive snap.

"He wasn't 100 percent, but he fought through the little ankle deal he had early in the game," said head coach Rich Rodriguez.  "It may have looked a little worse than it was.  Mickey's a tough guy and our training staff did a great job."

"He might be a little limited but he should be able to do everything by Saturday."

Other than that, B.J. Denker has a tender ankle, and WRs Garic Wharton and David Richards have been dealing with minor things for a few weeks now.

But that's it.

"We've been luckier," said Rodriguez.  "Last year it seemed like we got hit at the wrong position all the time.  This is the least amount (of hitting) I've ever done," during practice.

"I don't know if that's been the reason why we've stayed healthier, or just been a little bit luckier at times, or being able to play more people which always helps too."

"Thankfully (knocking on wood) we got to game twelve without too many."

It certainly helped against Oregon to have all those healthy bodies out there, being able to rotate guys constantly on defense to stay fresh against the high-powered Ducks offense.

Heading into Arizona State with just one guy on the injury report, and that injury not even happening during this season, seems like a small miracle in itself, and something Arizona fans should be thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend.

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