Starting defensive linemen Matt Malele and Rulon Davis suffered foot injuries last week in the process of mauling Louisiana Tech 42-12, but the Bears won't be scrambling to fill their spots for long - MRIs on both players revealed that neither injury is as severe as originally thought: Malele has a strained muscle on the bottom of his foot and Davis has a sprained foot. Both players are listed as day-to-day but head coach Jeff Tedford is not sure if either will be ready to play in Saturday's game at Arizona.
Both players spent Sunday's conditioning workout on crutches as Malele was thought to have torn a tendon in his foot and Davis was thought to have a stress fracture. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory was already searching for long-term replacements for the players, especially Malele, who is the Bears' most experienced lineman with 21 starts to his name. The MRI results mean that both will be back on the gridiron much sooner than expected, which is good news for the Bears.
Although, truth be told, the team was not all that worried to begin with. Even without Malele and Davis, several players have emerged at defensive line that have the Bears feeling pretty comfortable. Junior Mika Kane missed his last two starts because of a concussion, but is now healthy again and should be back in this week's lineup. Senior John Allen, sophomore Tad Smith and true freshman Cameron Jordan are all available, and capable, to take Davis' defensive end spot, and should share time there. Smith fought for a starting role during training camp but lost the competition to Davis. Still, he has seen consistent playing time this season after redshirting in 2005 and missing all of last season with a knee injury. He hopes to replace Malele in the field general role on the defensive line come Saturday, although his experience cannot stack up to that of the fifth-year senior. At the other defensive end position, sophomore Tyson Alualu continues to produce for the Bears. This D line depth is no accident - Cal lost three starters from last year's line and spent a good chunk of training camp evaluating players at those positions. They've now created a team of players with the versatility to play inside and outside, which comes in handy in times of injury. Elsewwhere on the defense, strong-side linebacker Zach Follett remains day-to-day with a neck stinger.
No Touches For Jackson
Wide receiver and return specialist DeSean Jackson is not getting many, if any, touches during practice this week, as he is still bothered by a thumb injury he sustained in the season opener against Tennessee. He is wearing a cast for the week.