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SPORTS BRIEFLY

Surgery for U. back

Utah running back Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, who has already rushed for 895 yards this season, will miss Saturday's game with Tulsa and perhaps more games after undergoing arthroscopic surgery Thursday morning for torn cartilage in his right knee.

Fuamatu-Ma'afala apparently suffered the injury during Saturday's game against TCU, but he didn't notice a problem until Sunday. He practiced on and off this week and after he got an MRI Tuesday, Ute trainer Bill Bean allowed him to practice to see if it would "cool down." When it didn't, Bean, along with Ute doctor Bob Burks and coach Ron McBride decided surgery was necessary. Fuamatu-Ma'afala could also miss next week's game at Rice and the following game against New Mexico.

With Fuamatu-Ma'afala out, the Utes will rely more on junior Juan Johnson, who has played sparingly in recent weeks because of injuries, but is all right now. Johnson has rushed for 345 yards this year, but only 76 yards on 10 carries the past three games.

The Utes will now have to "un-redshirt" sophomore Omar Bacon for the last four games.

Bacon has been practicing with the team all season, but the Utes were hoping to save a year of eligibility for the highly-touted back. The only other running back who has seen any action for the Utes this year is junior Tai Lepule, who has just three carries for two yards.