Football: Bigelow cleared to face Portland St.; McCain, Lawler likely out with head knocks

Cal running back Brendan Bigelow was medically cleared to play Saturday against Portland State after being hit in head in the Bears’ season-opening game vs. Northwestern.

Bigelow practiced for the second straight day Thursday and was given the all clear to go Saturday. Coach Sonny Dykes said he anticipates Bigelow will start.

Defensive end Chris McCain and backup receiver Kenny Lawler, both of whom took head blows in practice this week, are likely out, Dykes said.

The irony with McCain, of course, is he was reinstated by the Pac-12 on Monday after being ejected from the Northwestern game for “targeting” the Wildcats’ quarterback on a roughing penalty. And now he’s out, anyway.

Junior JC transfer Kyle Kragen will start in McCain’s place.

His absence is the fourth among players projected to be starters on the Cal defense. Safety Avery Sebastian is out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and defensive end Brennan Scarlett (hand) and middle linebacker Nick Forbes (back) have yet to play. 

No. 2 running back Daniel Lasco is likely to play after suffering a slight hamstring strain in practice Wednesday. He practiced lightly on the side Thursday, Dykes said, but should be ready Saturday.


Jeff Faraudo

  • al

    Cal is cursed! The injuries the last 2 years are ridiculous!

  • BlakeStreetBear

    al, patience is a virtue. This year will be a struggle, no doubt, yet somehow I think we will all enjoy riding along with this group of players and coaches. There will be both moments of ecstasy and agony, so to say.

    But, but my friend, next year and in seasons to come, this program is gonna go nuts, watch. The enthusiasm and raw energy in the stadium on Saturday was awesome! Recruits are gonna come. Sonny is playing balls to the wall to win and he’s got the resources and guts to get us where we want: Pasadena. Believe Golden Bear brethren, believe.

    Go Bears!

  • Daredevilfan

    I don’t get football anymore. They r gonna have to up the scholarships and rosters if they keep this paranoia about heads.

  • Jan K Oski

    Hey Daredevil- how many former players are going to have to commit suicide for you to eat your words?

  • jabes

    More scholarships would enable the Alabamas of the world to go three deep with less depth at the second and third tier schools (like Cal). Injuries happen — long term health and career are more important. A key to success is getting two deep talent, conditioning them, training them to limit plays that cause injuries (think Jerry Rice) and preparing the second string properly to perform when needed.

  • edg

    The Cal injuries seem particularly tough because of the lack of depth.

    Win some games, big games, and the recruits will come and the depth will improve, etc, etc.

  • peetyjay

    Perhaps Dykes is taking measured caution in light of our opponent this weekend. I’d have to believe that both guys would be playing if Ohio State were in town this week. Then again, I don’t know the severity of their injuries, but it sounds as if neither injury comes close to Avery Sebastian’s concussion.

  • daredevilfan

    I’m sorry, its hard for me to believe that they can’t solve the problem in this advanced day and age with better technology of helmets and equipment. There are billions being thrown around here so I would think some smart people could figure something out for the right paycheck. I haven’t seen numbers on suicides but my gut tells me that its still pretty small and these players are still more likely to die from a car crash than from football trauma. I’m not against player safety I’m just against over-reaction. It feels like a bail-out mentality. I would just like to see NFL/College try to solve the problem before they just freak out from lawyers and muddle up the game. This many players being out just from hits in ‘practice’? Hard to believe that is not an overreaction.

  • Larry

    Daredevilfan said:
    I’m sorry, its hard for me to believe that they can’t solve the problem in this advanced day and age with better technology of helmets and equipment. [END]

    I just finished a concussion training seminar and learned body blows can cause concussions. I assume the hit to the body causes the head to whip, in turn having the brain crash against the walls of the skull. So, better helmets solve only part of the problem.

    While I’ve enjoyed watching brutal hits in the past, I’m conflicted now. Concussions can happen fairly easily. Knowing that raises concern for my 8 year old son inadvertently suffering that same injury. So, I’m conflicted about enjoying the game knowing the hits might lead to life long disability. I still root for Cal to win and dominate, but it’s adulterated by concerns.

  • peetyjay

    Perhaps hockey would be a good sport to determine how often body hits cause concussions. I am not a fan of hockey, but my perception is that hits to the head do not occur very often, if ever. Therefore, one would infer all concussions are caused by hits to the body in hockey.

    Why is it that football gets paid so much attention regarding long-term health affects but not boxing, MMA, or other contact sports? This is a genuine question and it would be interesting to hear debate on this.