Tape It Up: Cal: Big Game Bruises

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Cal: Big Game Bruises

Cal receiver and returnman DeSean Jackson sat out of Tuesday's practice with a bruised right leg, and is uncertain as to whether or not he will play in the 110th Big Game on Saturday against Stanford. The Bears have lost five of their last six games and playing this one without Jackson would really hurt. Stanford may be outside anyone's list of the top teams in the nation, but the Cardinal did defeat USC in the Colisuem, and with Cal dangerously close to finishing its season at .500 (after falling like a rock from the No. 2 ranking they held earlier in the season), the junior is an essential piece in this weekend's puzzle.

Jackson sustained the injury to his quadriceps during the second quarter of Cal's loss to Washington on Nov. 17. He severly bruised his quads during a punt return and missed the rest of the game, and after a week of rehab, he's still feeling the effects of the injury whenever he moves on his knee. That's a big problem for a player whose biggest asset is his speed.

"I'm still not back to where I want to be," Jackson said. "Closer to game time, I'll see how I feel. Every year I've played in the Big Game, it's been one of those grest years. It would be good to keep that tradition going on. RIght now, I just want to protect my knee from whatever it is."

Through 11 games this season, Jackson has 60 catches for 681 yards with five touchdowns and another TD running the ball. He also has 12 punt returns for 129 yards, but never again matched the magic of the one he returned for a touchdown against Tennessee in the season opener. Jackson will most likely declare for the NFL draft after this season, so he wants to make a final regular-season statement (the half-game numbers against Washington are entirely forgettable) without running the risk of further injuring that precious knee.

If Jackson does not play, Cal's offense is in trouble. Freshman tailback Jahvid Best will miss the game, and most likely Cal's bowl game, as well, with a hip injury. The team's second-leading rusher, Best has 221 yards on the ground this season with 2 touchdowns. He was also hurt against Washington, during a blocking assingment on a kick return. It is still unclear whether or not Best will need surgery, but he's spending some time on crutches while team doctors figure that out.

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