BERKELEY — Cal tailback Jahvid Best underwent an MRI on his dislocated left elbow Monday morning, and the Bears issued a statement expressing hope he will return for the Oct. 18 game at Arizona.
The statement said Best will not require surgery and he will be treated through rehabilitation. If Best, the Bears' leading rusher, indeed is able to come back against Arizona, it means he will miss only one game. Cal hosts Arizona State on Saturday, then has a bye the following weekend.
Best suffered the injury during Saturday's 42-7 win over Colorado State.
Redshirt freshman Shane Vereen will move into the starting lineup in place of Best, with redshirt sophomore Tracy Slocum seeing time as well. Best's diagnosis means freshman Covaughn DeBoskie likely will remain a redshirt this season.
While Best is undoubtedly the Bears' most explosive running back, Vereen has exhibited flashes of what made him a blue-chip recruit out of Valencia High School in Southern California. He's averaging 69.8 yards per game in limited action and has reeled off two long touchdown runs. Slocum, meanwhile, only has 11 carries on the season but impressed coaches during spring practice when Best was out with a hip injury.
"The thing I have to do as a coach is not worry about Jahvid being out," Cal running backs coach Ron Gould said. "My job now is to make sure that Tracy and Shane are ready to handle the load."
Gould said he was unsure how he would divvy up the reps between Vereen and Slocum. Best has 59 carries through four games, while Vereen has 35. Best also missed parts of games against Maryland and Colorado State
"I have to continue to get Tracy caught up with a lot of the things going on in the game plan," Gould said. "I just play it by ear. My job as a coach is to get those guys ready, and when they're in there, they play. Only time will tell how much Tracy will play versus Shane."
Best also is Cal's top kick returner. Cornerback Darian Hagan is listed as the new No. 1 kick returner on the depth chart.
Syd'Quan Thompson was named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week. He returned five punts for 131 yards against Colorado State, including a 73-yard touchdown. ... Center Alex Mack is one of 30 candidates for the inaugural Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, given to the senior who best exemplifies excellence in four areas: classroom, character, community and competition. The list will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the season.
— Jonathan Okanes