After foot injury, status of UNLV 's Payne uncertain

UNLV senior wide receiver Phillip Payne could return from an injured right foot by next week, but coach Bobby Hauck won't make any assumptions.

Hauck, in fact, is preparing for the possibility Payne won't be available when the Rebels open Sept. 1 at Wisconsin.

"Any time you've got a bone injury in a foot, even doctors have a hard time telling you how long it will be," Hauck said. "I've seen guys come back from those fast, and I've seen guys take a long time. So the honest answer is we don't know."

Payne watched Tuesday morning's practice, the first of UNLV's football camp, while wearing a walking boot.

"It's frustrating because I want to play," he said. "But I get a good feeling being able to help out the young bucks, so somehow I'm going to get into it."

Payne caught 40 passes for 689 yards and five touchdowns last season.

n BIG LOSS? -- The Rebels didn't know they were getting defensive lineman Louvan Green, a junior college transfer, until he sent in his letter of intent on signing day.

But now the Rebels probably won't get Green at all this season because of academic issues.

"We're not deep on the defensive line," Hauck said. "We need some help up front on defense. We'll react to our situation, whatever it is, and if we don't have him, somebody else has got to step up."

Freshman running back Elijhaa Penny also is expected to be academically ineligible, and JC transfer offensive lineman Allen Carroll hasn't been medically cleared. Hauck didn't specify Carroll's situation.

Redshirt freshman wide receiver Taylor Spencer (broken leg) and sophomore defensive back John Therrell (shoulder surgery) didn't practice, but Hauck said both should return soon.

n NICE CATCH -- UNLV thought it lost defensive back Peni Vea (6 feet, 174 pounds) when he signed with Utah State.

Vea, however, couldn't get into school because of academic reasons, so he walked on to the Rebels and will receive a scholarship that will count toward next year.

"We were able to accept some things that he couldn't get in elsewhere," Hauck said.

UNLV also picked up senior defensive back Daniel Harper (5-10, 180), who transferred from Southern California. Because he left a school on probation, Harper can play without sitting out.

n THIS AND THAT -- Linebacker Connor Afoa, offensive lineman Patrick Carroll and defensive lineman David Green will grayshirt, meaning they are expected to enroll in January. ... Safety Chris Jones left the team, but will stay in school and remain involved with the program. ... The Sept. 10 game at Washington State has been set for 2 p.m.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.