Spring football is supposed to be a time of hope, happiness and good health.
Boy, it sure hasn't been that way for the Arizona Wildcats the last three springs.
Wide receiver Austin Hill tore his left ACL in practice Wednesday and will be out several months, coach Rich Rodriguez confirmed after Saturday's spring game.
It's - get this - the fourth time an Arizona player has torn his ACL the last three springs. Safety Adam Hall was injured in both 2011 and 2012; linebacker Jake Fischer suffered the same injury in 2011.
"Unfortunately, it is an ACL tear, which just makes me sick because he is such a great player and he still will be," Rodriguez said. "I don't know the timeframe for him being back. But the way technology is today, he will be back bigger and stronger.
"I really felt bad for him, but our guys will bounce back."
Hill led the team last year with 81 catches for 1,364 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged more than 100 yards per game and was a second team All-Pac-12 selection.
Hill injured his leg trying to catch a pass from quarterback B.J. Denker.
"I saw it. I'm the one who threw the football, and I knew it could be bad," Denker said. "We looked at each other and he gave me a high-five. He's going to get through it, and we're going to get through it, and he'll be a big support system for us."
The Corona, Calif., native redshirted in 2010, meaning he likely isn't a candidate for a medical waiver. Rodriguez said the tear in Hill's leg is limited to the ACL. He didn't damage his MCL or PCL, which often adds recovery time to the injury. Rodriguez is hoping to have Hill back at some point this season. In the meantime, a host of receivers - led by Johnny Jackson - will try to replace Hill's production.
"We have the guys we have now, and we have a great group of guys coming in the fall that can play well at wide receiver," Rodriguez said. "We want to get eight to nine guys ready at that position. We didn't have that many last year, so our hope is we will this year.
"When Austin comes back, he'll add to that mix."
Miller gets 5th year
The news wasn't all bad for Arizona receivers on Saturday.
The NCAA granted Terrence Miller a medical redshirt season for 2012, meaning he'll be eligible to play this season.
Miller played in just four games last season as he dealt with multiple injuries. He caught 13 passes for 143 yards and two touchdowns in his limited action.
For his career, Miller has 55 catches for 650 yards. He should provide versatility for the Wildcats this season. Rodriguez said he will play Miller outside, in the slot and at tight end.
Miller is just happy to officially have another season, and said he'll go wherever Rodriguez needs him.
"It feels really good to be cleared," Miller said. "I've been playing this waiting game, and I didn't know what to do. Now, I can push that back in my mind and just focus on school and football."
Freshman quarterback Javelle Allen did not play Saturday because of a migraine headache. The freshman from Prosper, Texas, had been Denker's primary backup this spring.
"It would have been nice to see him, but he's gotten better this spring," Rodriguez said.
• Receivers and tight ends who caught touchdown passes Saturday: Tyler Slavin, Clive Georges, Trey Griffey, Jarrell Bennett, Michael Cooper, Sean Willet, Josh Kern and Jackson. Slavin's 97-yard TD catch from Denker was the longest play of the day.
• Players who scored on the ground: Denker, Jared Baker and Terris Jones.
• Defensively, Will Parks and Tra'Mayne Bondurant both registered interceptions.
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at email@example.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk