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Tuesday Practice Briefs: Timetable for Phillip Payne’s return unknown

UNLV’s star All-Mountain West receiver still ‘day-to-day’ with right foot in a walking boot

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Sam Morris

Injured UNLV wide receiver Phillip Payne tries to interrupt Mark Barefield during practice Tuesday, August 9, 2011.

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Ready to start with a clean slate as a senior, UNLV all-Mountain West Conference wide receiver Philip Payne's debut at fall camp will be a bit delayed.

The 6-foot-3 senior was out at Rebel Park on Tuesday morning for the camp's first practice session but was sidelined with his right foot in a walking boot.

"He hurt his foot this summer, and the status you would say is day-to-day. It's going to be a week or more, though, before he's out there," second-year coach Bobby Hauck said. "We've got to see how it goes and we'll have to bring him along as fast as we can. The honest answer is we don't know. We wish we did."

The severity of Payne's physical issue was not given, but Hauck confirmed that it is a bone injury in his right foot.

In a junior season that was briefly interrupted by a mid-season suspension, Payne caught 40 passes for a team-high 689 yards and five touchdowns. In 32 career games, he's recorded 19 touchdown receptions, and Payne will likely be the weapon of choice for whoever wins the starting quarterback job heading into the Sept. 1 season opener at Wisconsin.

However, UNLV appears to be capable of softening the blow some if Payne does end up missing any games. Fellow senior Michael Johnson, who led UNLV in 2010 with 51 receptions, is back from a suspension that kept him out of spring camp. Also appearing to be ready for a comeback is sophomore Mark Barefield, who earned a medical hardship redshirt last season after missing all but three games due to injury.

Day One Tidbits

• Two high-profile absences included junior defensive lineman Louvan Green and freshman running back Elijhaa Penny — a pair of newcomers who have not yet been academically cleared. Decisions on whether they qualify should be known in the next couple of days, according to Hauck.

• Junior college transfer offensive lineman Allen Carroll, who redshirted the 2008 season at Washington, was in street clothes as he is not yet medically cleared.

• Recovering from injuries and donning blue jerseys on Tuesday were a pair of Bishop Gorman products — redshirt freshman receiver Taylor Spencer and sophomore safety John Therrell. Spencer is recovering from a broken leg and spent the day jogging around the practice fields, while Therrell is on the mend from shoulder surgery.

• Two late adds to the roster are defensive backs Daniel Harper and Peni Vea. Harper, a senior, was a walk-on at Southern Cal, and following NCAA sanctions being handed down to the Trojans, he could transfer without having to sit out a year. Vea was a one-time priority recruiting target for UNLV out of Hawaii who signed with Utah State. But after failing to be admitted at Utah State for academic reasons, he wound up at UNLV. He'll be a walk-on before being awarded a scholarship for the 2012 season.

• The last remaining game time to be set on UNLV's 2011 schedule is now taken care of. The Rebels' second game of the season — Sept. 10 at Washington State — will start at 2 p.m. As of now, the game will not be televised.

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  1. If he cant play do we still have to have a football season? Cant we just let the basketball team start practicing early and fill the Mack for scrimages?