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Arizona’s Juron Criner misses second practice; who’s next if he can’t play?

Juron Criner had nine catches for 47 yards and a TD last season vs. Oklahoma State. Photo by Rick Osentoski/US PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats star wide receiver Juron Criner missed his second consecutive practice Tuesday because of an undisclosed illness, further calling into doubt his availability for Thursday’s game at ninth-ranked Oklahoma State.

Criner will travel with the team Wednesday to Stillwater, coach Mike Stoops said after practice, although he added he “wasn’t going to speculate” on the chances of Criner playing against the Cowboys.

“We hope he’s ready to come back,” Stoops said.

Wide receiver is Arizona’s deepest position, but nobody else on the roster is quite like Criner, who earned some second-team All-America honors last season, when he caught 82 passes for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Criner was superb in Saturday’s season-opener, catching six passes for 151 yards and a touchdown.

If Criner can’t go … who is going to step up on the outside?

Senior Gino Crump
He is listed this week as the starter at the outside receiver spot opposite Criner. He is coming off his best game as a Wildcat, with five receptions for 43 yards and a score. He had four catches all of last season, when he was unable to build on a strong fall camp.

This season, he appears to be doing just that.

“Gino has grown up a lot and really improved his maturity and consistency,” Stoops said. “It’s amazing how that goes hand in hand.”

Junior Dan Buckner
The Texas transfer had a decent UA debut, catching four passes for 38 yards against NAU, mostly working quick outs. Buckner, at 6-foot-4, showed the ability in camp to make plays down field, but consistency has not been his strong suit.

Redshirt freshman Austin Hill
He is listed as the backup to Criner after catching the first pass of his career last week. It was a 24-yarder for a touchdown. In his year-plus in the program, Hill showed playmaking ability. He, like fellow redshirt freshman Tyler Slavin, just needs more experience.

“They’re going to be pretty special receivers for this school,” quarterback Nick Foles said in late July at Pac-12 Media Day. “This year, they are going to help us a lot and they could do down as some of the top receivers in school history. I think they’re that good.”

Senior David Douglas
He is listed as a starter at inside receiver but can play any of UA’s receiver spots. He made 52 catches last season but didn’t have any vs. NAU last week … so maybe he’s due.

Foles completed 34 passes last week, and five players had at least five receptions.

“Our offense — as you can see from a week ago — is not just one player,” Stoops said. “Juron has a big-play knack, but we have other players who can make plays.”

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