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Arizona’s Juron Criner questionable for game against Stanford

Juron Criner could be back in Arizona Stadium on Saturday. Photo by Chris Morrison, US-PRESSWIRE

Arizona Wildcats receiver Juron Criner is questionable for this week’s game against Stanford, although he might not get medical clearance until late in the week as he recovers from an appendectomy on Sept. 5.

“If he’s healthy, he’ll play,” coach Mike Stoops said in his Monday news conference. “That’s as simple as I can make it.”

Stoops said Criner isn’t likely to receive clearance, if at all, until Thursday. That might be in time for the team’s final practice of the week.

If not, that’s not a problem, Stoops said.

“Juron is very unique in his ability to adapt very quickly,” Stoops said. “That wouldn’t be the perfect scenario. You would like to give him a day. Juron has played so much football here. He understands what we’re doing. …

“Juron is a very unique athlete. It’s not like you and me going in there and getting this done. He’ll come back a lot quicker.”

Criner, who caught 82 passes for 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns last season, began this season with six catches for 151 yards and a score against NAU.

Of course, any injury report from Stoops has to be met with some amount of skepticism.

Arizona and Stoops, who said he learned of Criner’s illness “last Sunday or Monday,” kept the appendectomy a secret until the day of the Thursday night game at Oklahoma State. Stoops, in interviews on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Criner had a chance to play and that his star wideout would travel with the team — both things he knew weren’t true.

He said Monday he was trying to keep Oklahoma State guessing, as there are some things opponents usually do to scheme particularly for Criner.

“There has to be some privacy and protection for us,” Stoops said.

“That’s the only reason. I never deceived or lied — or tried not to — if there wasn’t a reason to benefit our team. I always have to protect those guys first. We’ll always do that, and I think that’s my right.”

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