By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Stanford senior defensive end Henry Anderson and sophomore inside linebacker Blake Martinez will likely miss up to four weeks and senior cornerback Barry Browning is doubtful for Saturday's Pac-12 Conference football opener with visiting Arizona State at 4 p.m.
Anderson (knee) and Browning (shoulder) sustained their injuries in the Cardinal's 34-20 victory over Army on Saturday. Martinez was hurt in practice.
"Thank goodness we have some depth," Stanford coach David Shaw said Tuesday. "Josh Mauro was our defensive Player of the Game last week."
Mauro will be penciled into the starting lineup against the Sun Devils, although Shaw indicated he has always thought of Mauro as a starter.
"He's a backup for everybody," Shaw said. "He can do it all. We rotate him in for everybody."
Shaw said Anderson's injury was "kind of weird," and was nothing out of the ordinary. He seemed to come down wrong.
"We lose depth, experience and size," Shaw said. "It's losing one more big guy. We're getting other guys ready and expect them to help out."
Included among those expected to help is sophomore defensive tackle Ikenna Nwafor, who matches Anderson is size and weight.
"We're starting to see the quickness he showed in high school," Shaw said. "It's just getting used to playing college football. He has a bright future. He's fast, explosive, relentless and great with his hands."
Hewitt returns to practice
Senior fullback Ryan Hewitt was slated to participate in most of Tuesday's practice and all of Wednesday's practice before a decision is made on his availability for this week's contest.
"He says he feels great and he hasn't said that in a month," Shaw said. "We'll know by Thursday."
Stanford quarterback Kevin Hogan did not throw to a fullback or tight end all day against the Black Knights.
Hogan included Hewitt quite a bit in the offense when he took over as the starter last year.
"He's a play maker and great in the running game," Hogan said. "He can get out in the flat and catch passes too. He adds another dimension to our offense."
Hewitt caught 50 passes for 421 yards and six touchdowns during his first three years. He added a rushing touchdown last year. He was limited to one catch for three yards in the victory over San Jose State two weeks ago.
Shaw could become the first Stanford coach to start 3-0 in his first three seasons in over a 100 years. George J. Presley did it from 1909-11, when rugby style rules were still in effect . . . The Cardinal is 31-3 at Stanford Stadium since the final game of the 2007 season . . . Arizona State leads the series with Stanford, 16-11, though the Cardinal has won five of the past six meetings at Stanford . . . Cardinal grad T.J. Rushing is a graduate assistant at Arizona State. Rushing is one of Stanford's all-time top returners. He's fourth on the career list with 1,409 kickoff return yards.