For Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed, the choice was clear: Play in one game and risk not playing in many others, or sit out one game and have a better chance in playing in many others.
Mohamed and the Bears took the big picture approach Friday. Mohamed, Cal's best defensive player and an All-America candidate, didn't play at Nevada because of a sprained big toe on his left foot. Doctors told him he ran the risk of making the injury worse if he played, while he had a good chance of fully healing in time for this week's game at Arizona if he sat out.
The Bears clearly could have used their defensive leader against the Wolf Pack. Nevada and its explosive pistol offense confounded Cal on its way to a 52-31 victory. But Cal will need Mohamed in every game this season, and now the Bears have a better chance of having his services for longer.
"I could have played, but I would have risked making it worse," Mohamed said. "They basically said sit out this game and I should be all right for the rest of the season. It was more of a big picture thing. We still have a lot of games to go."
Mohamed still made the trip to Reno and tried to help out on the sidelines as best he could. But neither he nor anyone else had an answer to stop Nevada's attack.
"It was tough, especially being a senior," Mohamed said. "You want to get every game that you can. Having to sit out and not being able to do anything about it was tough. I just had to be there and support my team the best that I could."
Mohamed is scheduled to meet with a doctor today and could be cleared to practice Wednesday.
"Normally, he probably catches that ball that got intercepted," Tedford said. "There was some rust there from not practicing. But he'll practice 100 percent this week."
Allen had nine catches for 177 yards through the first two games.
Cal (2-1) at Arizona (3-0), 7 p.m. CSNBA+