Cal junior safety Avery Sebastian, one of the team’s emotional leaders, will undergo season-ending surgery Thursday to repair a torn right Achilles tendon, coach Sonny Dykes announced.
“It’s a pretty significant blow,” Dykes said. “He’s very disappointed.”
It’s the latest setback for Sebastian, who suffered a concussion during fall training camp and missed two weeks of practice. He was cleared in time to play in last Saturday’s opener vs. Northwestern, and had 11 tackles before being injured in the second quarter of the Bears’ 44-30 loss.
“It’s tough for him. Avery’s a kid that loves to play football, has a tremendous passion for the game,” Dykes said. “He’s one of our leaders on a team that doesn’t have a lot of leadership. I hate it for him.
“He’ll be back better than ever.”
Sebastian will be eligible to reclaim a year of eligibility through a medical redshirt.
Junior Michael Lowe will assume the starting strong safety job.
Meanwhile, linebacker Khairi Fortt, who suffered a head injury on Saturday, was cleared to practice Tuesday.
Running back Brendan Bigelow, also sidelined by a blow to the head, was held out of practice pending clearance through concussion protocols, but could play Saturday against Portland State.
The status of defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand) and linebacker Nick Forbes (back) remains uncertain and it’s almost certain neither will play Saturday.
Dykes did not rule out the possibility either might eventually apply for a medical redshirt year, but said that discussion is premature.
Scarlett has been sidelined since last season when he twice broke his hand, then had surgery to clean out a subsequent infection.
Asked why the recovery time has been so long, Dykes said a bone graft was performed during the surgery and Scarlett simply has not been medically cleared for contact in practice.
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