Obviously, it didn’t come as a big surprise that Jahvid Best is going to miss Saturday’s season-finale. As I reported Sunday, Best was not practicing and Jeff Tedford said they hadn’t even talked about a return. Surely, there will have to be some discussion about a possible return before it actually happens. Now, there is one chance left for that to happen — the bowl game.
Best spent today in Pittsburgh, Pa. being examined by Dr. Michael Collins, considered a top expert in sports concussions. Even though Best and Tedford have insisted that Best hasn’t had any concussion symptoms for the past coupel of weeks, Tedford said they still didn’t want to take any chances with such a delicate issue. Still, it’s pretty clear that Best’s possible return will be predicated on the health of his back, which clearly isn’t healed enough to allow him to practice.
I haven’t talked to Best since after the Big Game but he has to be disappointed. He seemed pretty hopeful of returning for the Washington game. Now the question is if he will return for the bowl game, or even wants to. How worth it is it for him to come back for just one game? That might depend on how strongly he is considering entering the NFL draft. Best might need to come back for one more game as sort of an audition for NFL teams. If the last thing teams remember is him lying motionless in the end zone, it might be a little harder to pull the trigger.
The development that Best is going to miss another game was the real only newsworthy event to come out of Tuesday’s weekly press luncheon, the last one of the season. Tedford reiterated that cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson will play Saturday, despite the fact that he hasn’t practiced since the Big Game because of a sprained ankle. Thompson missed practice again today.
Running back Shane Vereen wore a red jersey today and was a spectator, but he said at the luncheon that he feels fine. Vereen, of course, carried a big workload against Stanford and I’m sure the coaching staff just wants to keep him as fresh as possible. They did this in 2007 with Justin Forsett, who barely practiced at all during the second half of the season.
Left guard Matt Summers-Gavin, who missed two games with a sprained shoulder before coming back for the past two games, wasn’t practicing during the time I was able to watch. I haven’t heard that he re-injured himself, so again he’s probably just playing it cautious.
Players to attend today’s press luncheon were quarterback Kevin Riley, left tackle Mike Tepper, linebacker Devin Bishop, defensive end Tyson Alualu, linebacker Mike Mohamed, fullback Brian Holley and Vereen. I’ll have full transcriptions of each player tomorrow, but for now here is what Tedford and Riley had to say today.