Shabazz Muhammad is physically ''real close'' to being able to play his first game for No. 13 UCLA after losing time because of a shoulder injury. When the NCAA decides whether the freshman guard is eligible is up in the air.
Muhammad has been relegated to watching from the sideline as the Bruins prepare for their season opener on Friday against Indiana State at new Pauley Pavilion. He strained his right shoulder during practice Oct. 25.
Coach Ben Howland says the star recruit is able to shoot the ball and physically there's ''a possibility for sure'' that he could be ready by Friday. But Muhammad has been given no timeline for a resolution of the NCAA investigation involving alleged improper benefits he received in his recruitment from boosters of his Las Vegas AAU program.
Muhammad was one of the nation's mostly highly sought-after recruits last spring when he chose UCLA over Kentucky and Duke.