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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Another Purcell suits up for UH: Amani Purcell joins his older brother Melila at the Warriors' practice

Another Purcell suits up for UH

Amani Purcell joins his older brother Melila at the Warriors' practice

The Hawaii football family tree added another branch yesterday -- possibly a very strong one.

Outside linebacker Amani Purcell joined practice yesterday, and coach June Jones said he thinks the brother of starting defensive end Melila Purcell can be ready to contribute in the Sept. 2 season-opening game at Alabama.

"Yes," Jones answered firmly when asked if Purcell can make the 60-player roster for the trip to Tuscaloosa.

Even if he doesn't crack the two-deep right away (sophomores C.J. Allen-Jones and Tyson Kafentzis are the tentative starters at outside linebacker), the 6-foot-3, 250-pound Penn State transfer could make the trip as a special teams player.

"I'm really happy. I've been waiting a long time to wear this jersey," Purcell said. "We'll see. At least I'm getting a chance to prove I belong on the (travel) roster."

He also said he's excited to finally get on the field with his brother -- as well as a handful of cousins who also play for the Warriors.

Melila Purcell said he and his brother are related to Brashton, Hercules and Samson Satele, Raphael Ieru, Nate Ilaoa, Fale Laeli, Reagan Mauia and Lawrence Wilson.

"Some of them, I meet the parents and they go through the family line and we find out we're related," Melila Purcell said. "There's blood in the system. It seems like it's more than half the team.

"Everybody's all happy about (Amani joining the team) now. Everybody was all worried when he was going to get to practice. There's nothing better than having your brother out there with you, and your cousins, too, backing you up."

Per NCAA rules, Amani Purcell can practice with just a helmet for two days, then helmet and shoulder pads for three days before wearing full pads.

More injuries: The news from practice yesterday wasn't all good, as the beleaguered training staff tended to two more injured players.

At the same time during the 3-hour morning session, sophomore receiver Dylan Linkner went down with a hamstring pull while running a pass route and senior linebacker Victor "Bully" Fergerstrom was being treated for back and hip injuries suffered during 1-on-1 drills.

The Warriors have suffered a rash of injuries the past week, but Jones isn't too worried that starters and key backups won't be available when the season starts.

"It's the norm. We're thankful we haven't had anything major, although that looked like a bad pull on Dylan today, the hamstring. That happens," Jones said.

Linkner, a walk-on who has had an impressive camp but is third on the depth chart, was hopeful he could recover quickly.

"I'm already able to put some weight on it," Linkner said after practice.

Fergerstrom's injury was scary, since he remained on the ground a full 10 minutes. But he walked off the field, and X-rays were negative. The experienced special teams player is day-to-day.

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