Arizona State’s linebacking corps was missing some of its versatility in the middle with Morris Wooten and Gerald Munns injured.
However, Wooten (thumb) and Munns (knee) are healthy enough to contribute, enabling Mike Nixon to resume his role of filling in at all three positions. At practice on Tuesday, Wooten played in the middle and Nixon on the strong side for many snaps.
“(Nixon’s) going to play both in the middle and strong side,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “With Morris and Gerald back in the middle, Mike is able to move outside. That gives us the five linebackers we’re going to play with.”
Travis Goethel, still on the depth chart as the first-team strong-side linebacker, and weak-side starter Robert James are the other players in the mix.
With Wooten limited, Nixon started the past two games in the middle. He had a team-high 12 tackles at Oregon on Saturday.
Wooten, who still wears a cast on his right hand, saw limited action in the past two games.
“I didn’t feel comfortable out there,” Wooten said. “But after seeing the team take a loss, I want to come back and have a role in helping the team win some big games down the stretch. ...
“I’m past the pain and have had a few days to rest. I feel more confident, and I’m ready to club, rip and tackle.”
Defensive lineman Dane Guthrie suffered a concussion in Saturday’s contest, an ailment that was not discovered until Tuesday.
“We hadn’t realized it,” Erickson said. “We’ll have to wait and see. Right now, he’s questionable for this week.”
Guthrie, a junior, has been part of the Sun Devils’ defensive end rotation since moving from tight end before the season.
In other injury news, guard Paul Fanaika (ankle) moved around well on the side on Tuesday and is expected to practice today. Erickson said that Fanaika should play in Saturday’s game at UCLA.
Receiver Chris McGaha (knee) should play on Saturday. Safety Jeremy Payton (ankle) is at least a week away.
Thomas Weber, who has made 18 of 19 field-goal attempts this season — his only miss was at Oregon — has been named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award, given to the nation’s top kicker.
The redshirt freshman made his first 17 in a row before missing late in the first half on Saturday. Later in the game, he booted a career-long 50-yarder.
Weber has been selected the Pac-10’s special teams player of the week twice this year.