Sports

Merced trio in doubt for St. Mary's duel

Brandon Garcia received a bit of good news over the weekend.

X-rays on his right thumb revealed it isn't broken.

The Merced quarterback injured his thumb while blocking on a running play in the second half of Merced's 38-14 win over Modesto Grace Davis in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs on Friday.

Garcia listed himself as "questionable" for this week's second-round game against Stockton St. Mary's.

Garcia is scheduled to have an MRI this morning to make sure there is no ligament damage.

"The doctor said it might be sprained," said Garcia, who threw for two touchdowns against Davis. "It's feels better than it did on Friday night.

"It's swollen and it still feels pretty bad. I'll have to see how it feels this week.

"Right now I'm just keeping it in a splint and ice it. On Friday, it looked like I had two different hands because it was so swollen."

If Garcia is unable to play, junior Allen Huddleston will get the call at quarterback.

Huddleston was battling Garcia for the starting job early on in camp this fall, but has spent the majority of his time this season at receiver.

Huddleston also will see a lot of time on defense -- especially since star cornerback Jamichael Turner is nursing a pulled hamstring.

"Brandon's still got to be able to take a snap and grip a football," Merced coach Rob Scheidt said. "It may be a question of pain tolerance if there is no ligament damage."

Merced could be without three key players when it faces St. Mary's -- which is ranked No. 21 in the state by CalHiSports.

Jarrett Sparks, who sat out last week with mononucleosis, had planned to meet with his doctor this week in the hope of being cleared to play against St. Mary's.

However, the situation may not be quite so simple.

"They said if my spleen wasn't swollen, I could probably play," Sparks said. "But my mom doesn't want me to see the doctor. So it doesn't look like I'll get to play."

Turner remains a question mark because of the hamstring.

Turner has tried to play in each of the last two weeks, but has been forced to leave the games because the injury prevented him from being able to run and cover receivers.

The Merced staff had to get Turner off the field after the first quarter against Davis.

"We're going to try a different approach with him this week," Scheidt said. "We're going to practice him hard and see how his hamstring responds.

"We've tried resting him during the week and he hasn't be able to go out of the blocks."

Shawn Jansen is a Sun-Star sports reporter. He can reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsun-star.com.

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