BYU quarterback Ty Detmer shed his cast and threw his first pass in more than a week Monday, apparently without pain.

"He appears to be fine," BYU Coach LaVell Edwards said. "The next thing will be to see if it's sore tomorrow."Detmer's right hand had been put in the cast the night after the loss to Oregon, and Detmer took advantage of a bye week to get in some extensive therapy - and some elk hunting.

Detmer and some friends went into the Manti-La Sal National Forest last week in search of elk. Only one member of the party bagged one, however, and guess who it was? Uh-huh, Detmer. Reports are that the sharpshooting QB put a bullet through the animal's heart from 400 yards.

But back to the hand, which was first sprained against Washington State, then reinjured against San Diego State. BYU trainer George Curtis described the injury as a ligament sprain affecting the thumb, index and middle fingers.

Before Monday's practice, Curtis examined the hand. "It was 100 percent," the trainer said. "He had no pain, no soreness.

"In fact, the hand was so good that after he shot his elk he used it (the hand) to cut the elk up and haul it out," Curtis added.

On the practice field Monday afternoon, Detmer threw sharply during a normal game-week workout.

One of his targets at practice was tight end Chris Smith, who underwent arthroscopic surgery on his knee after the Oregon game. Curtis said Smith has recovered quickly, and could have played if BYU had had a game last week.

Less fortunate was linebacker Jared Leavitt, who has had one operation for a herniated disc and is scheduled for another. He is out for the season, said Edwards, and will be replaced in the starting lineup by Scott Giles, a junior from Provo whom the Cougars had planned to redshirt this season.