SEATTLE (AP) -Ultimately, Jake Locker doesn't want to be a spectator.
Washington's star quarterback said Tuesday he'd be willing to play a different position in the coming weeks while his broken right thumb heals, as long as it's determined such a move would help the team and not risk additional injury.
``I'm definitely open to it. I'd rather be playing than sitting over on the sidelines,'' Locker said on Tuesday, speaking for the first time since his injury. ``Whatever is in the best interest of this team, whether it's playing or not, I'll give it a shot.''
Locker had surgery Monday to stabilize his thumb, which he broke in the second quarter of last Saturday's 35-28 loss to Stanford, on a play where Locker was the lead blocker for a reverse that went for 27 yards. Locker believes his thumb caught on the defender as he went to make a cut block.
in six to eight weeks, but depending on how the thumb heals he could play a different position in a few weeks wearing a cast.
The question remains if risking Locker to additional pounding and injury at another position is worth the possible short-term gain for an 0-4 Washington team needing an stunning turnaround to salvage its season and likely save the job of coach Tyrone Willingham.
Locker was an all-state defensive back in high school and was recruited by a number of schools to play defense. Offensive coordinator Tim Lappano refused to address the situation Tuesday saying, ``I'm not going there.''
``I understand that. (It's) definitely something that would factor into the decision, I feel,'' Locker answered when asked about the physical punishment of another position. ``I've told you guys before I don't want to live life scared or tentative. I want to enjoy it and have fun and I believe the best way for me to do that is to be on the field no matter where it is.''
Locker has been Washington's best offensive talent for the last two years, setting a modern Pac-10 record for yards rushing by a quarterback last season with 986 yards along with 13 rushing touchdowns.
ocker changing positions ``premature,'' but hasn't ruled out the possibility.
``Our first focus and concentration, should be to get him healthy and make sure we have done everything to put him in position to play quarterback,'' Willingham said during the Pac-10 coaches conference call Tuesday. ``And if it looks like there is a short-term period where there is something he can do to help the football team, then you do that. But it would be inappropriate for us to have those talks and those discussions right now. We need to make sure the focus is on getting Jake healthy.''
Locker knew something was wrong with his thumb immediately when he couldn't unbuckle his chinstrap. He rushed for 2 yards on the next play, then badly overthrew a wide open receiver. Once Locker released the ball, he knew he'd done more than just bruise his thumb.
``I had no control over the ball,'' Locker said. ``My thumb didn't help me at all throwing the ball, so I knew something was wrong.''
Locker will be in a soft cast for the next two weeks, after which time he will be re-evaluated and a better timetable for his return should be available.

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