NEW ORLEANS, DEC. 28 -- Virginia Coach George Welsh deemed quarterback Shawn Moore probable for the Cavaliers' Sugar Bowl game against Tennessee here Tuesday, while wide receiver Derek Dooley became the newest addition to Virginia's injury list.

Welsh said a final decision on who will start at quarterback will come Saturday so the starter can receive three full days of practice with the first unit. Moore, who has struggled with lingering pain from a dislocated thumb six weeks ago, had been splitting practice time on the first team with backup Matt Blundin, but was moved to the first unit before Virginia's afternoon practice today at Tulane University.

"I thought he was better today than he was yesterday," Welsh said. "He's not near a hundred percent, but I think he's going to be pretty close by game time."

Blundin, a reserve forward on the basketball team, will miss Saturday's game in Minnesota. Blundin started in the football team's season finale -- a 38-13 loss to Virginia Tech -- and would start New Year's Day should Moore remain sidelined.

"We still think we can win with Blundin," Welsh said. "Both may play. I don't think it makes a difference to the team and that's the key. Too much is made about the quarterback. They get too much credit and too much blame. I've always felt that way."

Dooley pulled a hamstring in practice Thursday, and would become the second Virginia receiver lost in a week; a CAT scan last Friday revealed tight end Bruce McGonnigal's spleen had not recovered sufficiently from an October accident for him to return by Tuesday. "{Dooley's} doubtful, but those kind of things you may not know for a couple of days," Welsh said.

Maybe they finally have been converted because the Cavaliers are starting to sound like impersonators of Welsh, who normally manages to find the dark cloud within the brightest of silver linings.

But the roles were reversed today, with Welsh joking about what a great time he has been having sampling the local cuisine, while his players lamented not being able to find a party big enough for their tastes.

To hear the Cavaliers tell it, Bourbon Street -- located just blocks from the team's hotel -- ranks as something of a minor-league party atmosphere, paling in comparison to the festive Charlottesville night life to which they have become accustomed.

Defensive tackle Joe Hall, who has worked as a bartender in Charlottesville, was quick today to pronounce the bars and burlesque here "overrated," while center Trevor Ryals said he was bored with the area after only two nights.

"I'm kind of embarrassed because the place is dead," said offensive tackle Paul Collins, who lived in suburban New Orleans for seven years and has spent much of the last six weeks trumpeting the city to his teammates. "I really can't explain it."

All of which must please Welsh, who from Wednesday's arrival here imposed a team curfew of 2 a.m., wary of the distractions that befell his team at last year's Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla., where Virginia lost its first New Year's Day bowl appearance 31-21 to Illinois.

"Last year we had a little too much fun," Ryals said. "We made up our minds we weren't going to come down here and go crazy on Bourbon Street."

Tennessee Coach Johnny Majors, whose 1985 team upset then second-ranked Miami by 35-7 in the 52nd Sugar Bowl, will wait until Saturday night to begin curfews.