Running back Jahvid Best will miss spring practice for the second year in a row, but this time Cal fans shouldn't feel too uncomfortable about it.

Unlike last year, when he was recovering from a serious hip injury, Best will skip the spring to recover from two minor surgeries to patch up previous ailments. He's expected to be fully recovered well before the start of training camp for the 2009 season.

Best underwent a procedure in mid-January that tightened a ligament in his left elbow, an injury that lingered from the dislocated elbow he suffered during a win over Colorado State in Sept. 27. A week later, Best had surgery to relieve irritation in his left foot — he played much of 2008 with a bruised left foot.

Cal's training staff expects Best to be able to start running in late March or early April. The injury also will cause him to miss the track and field season for the second straight year.

Best won the Pac-10 rushing title and finished third nationally as a sophomore last season, averaging 131.7 yards per game. His 1,580 rushing yards were the second-highest total in team history.

Last year, Best sat out the spring after suffering a bruised hip in a late-season game against USC in 2007. The Bears had specialists from across the country review Best's MRI due to the delicate nature of hip injuries. Even by the time spring practice ended, there was uncertainty about Best's status. It wasn't completely cleared up until he proved he could take some hits at the start of training camp.


Advertisement

There won't be that kind of uneasiness this time around. The two surgeries were more like cleanup procedures, and given Best's importance to the 2009 season, it's probably not a crime for him to sit out the spring to avoid injury anyway.

Spring practice begins March 10 and runs through April 18.

Contact Jonathan Okanes at jokanes@bayareanewsgroup.com.