For weeks, the Arizona Wildcats have agonized over a key player's knee injury.

Justin Washington is doing just fine.

Wait, you thought we were talking about quarterback Nick Foles?

Washington, Arizona's starting nose tackle, has missed just as much time as Foles - 11 quarters - since spraining his right knee in the Wildcats' Oct. 16 win over Washington State.

And, like Foles, Washington is expected to return in time to face 10th-ranked Stanford on Saturday.

The 13th-ranked Wildcats (7-1 overall, 4-1 Pac-10) will need him.

In six games, all starts, Washington registered 27 tackles, 8 1/2 tackles-for-loss and four sacks.

The redshirt freshman from Cypress, Texas, even blocked a point after touchdown against Iowa, a turning point in the UA's 34-27 win.

"We've got him back at the right time," defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo said. "With Justin, the biggest thing is that he's anxious. He wants to get back in the mix. That's a good thing to have."

The Star talked to Washington, 19, about his injury, recovery and expectations. Here's what he said:

On the injury: "It looked nastier than it was. After I found out what it was, a sprain, it wasn't that bad. At first, it felt like it was going to be really bad. After I got up and felt it, I knew I'd be back in no time."

On the timing of the injury: "It was right after Nick's, right? I didn't really see it. I was on the sidelines getting coached up when it happened."

On being scared: "I've never been out like that before. In high school, my junior year, I missed one game with the same knee. I tweaked it or sprained it; I never tore anything. I only missed one game."

On what he did to prepare while he was hurt: "I was getting in the film room, putting in overtime hours in there. I was trying to get back, and that was my way to do that. I pretty much did it on my own. I wanted to do something while I was out."

On watching Arizona's wins over Washington and UCLA from the sidelines: "I didn't like it. I was there to support my team, giving tips, doing whatever I could do to help."

On his recovery: "It's all good right now. I'm just trying to get back into the rhythm."

On his goals for the Wildcats' last four games: "Just contribute to the team, that's all. That's all I can do."

On playing Saturday: "This just motivates me. I need to make up for the two games I missed. I need to get to work. It's my debut back, so I'm looking forward to showing everybody what they've been missing."

Stoops, Foles to be ON 'College GameDay'

Up next

• What: Arizona (7-1, 4-1) at Stanford (7-1, 4-1)

• When: 5 p.m. Saturday

• TV: Channel 9

• Radio: 1290-AM, 107.5-FM

Coach Mike Stoops

and quarterback Nick Foles will appear on ESPN's "College GameDay" Saturday morning to talk about the Arizona Wildcats' showdown with Stanford. The two-hour show starts at 7 a.m.

Stoops and Foles filmed segments with the show Wednesday; Stoops was even wired for sound in practice.

Arizona is no stranger to the "College GameDay" experience. Hosts Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Fowler and Lee Corso hosted the show from the UA mall last November.

Ryan Finley